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Revista Salud Uninorte

versão impressa ISSN 0120-5552versão On-line ISSN 2011-7531


DAVILA PONTON, YOLANDA et al. Empathy and Family Functioning in Medical Students of the University of Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador. Salud, Barranquilla [online]. 2020, vol.36, n.3, pp.571-586.  Epub 22-Out-2021. ISSN 0120-5552.


To explore the distribution of general, and particular, levels of empathy, among the different family functioning styles of medical students at the University of Azuay, in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador.

Materials and methods:

Exploratory and cross-sectional study. Student empathy levels were measured through the Jefferson Medical Empathy Scale, S-version in Spanish, and family functioning through the Faces-20 Family Functioning Scale, in a sample of 278 medical students. The comparison of data was carried out by means of analysis of bifactorial variance model III. The used level of significance was α≤ 0.05 and 1- β ≤ 0.20.


The analysis of the general empathy variance was significant (p <0.05) for the family functioning style factor. The results on the dimensions of empathy:" Take on perspective" and "Ability to understand the situation of the other" were significant (p = 0.035; p = 0.044) for the family functioning style factor. Regarding the "Care with compassion" dimension, no significant differences were observed (p> 0.05). On the other hand, it was found that extreme family functioning styles have empathy values greater than the intermediate style, with significant differences between them (p <0.05).


There is a relationship between the type of family functioning and empathy. Extreme family functioning style have higher empathy values than intermedium families. Regarding the gender factor, these differences were not presented.

Palavras-chave : Empathy; Students, Medical; Physician-Patient relations.

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