Table 1.

Measures of physician’s empathy: items, scales, missing, and Cronbach’s α

Variables
Self-reported measures
Empathic concern
Seven items: for example, ‘I am often quite touched by things that I see happen.’
Scale: 1 = ‘Does not describe me well’, 2 = ‘Rarely describes me well’, 3 = ‘Sometimes describes me well’,
  4 = ‘Most of the time describes me well’, 5 = ‘Describes me very well’
Score: Mean of the seven items (after reversing specific reversed items) n= 58 physicians; missing values: n = 3 (4.9%), Cronbach’s α= .70
Perspective taking
Seven items: for example, ‘Before criticising somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place.’
Scale: 1 = ‘Does not describe me well’, 2 = ‘Rarely describes me well’, 3 = ‘Sometimes describes me well’,
  4 = ‘Most of the time describes me well’, 5 = ‘Describes me very well’
Score: Mean of the seven items (after reversing specific reversed items) n = 58 physicians; missing values: n = 3 (4.9%), Cronbach’s α= .77
Empathy online test
DANVA
Participants are asked to determine which emotion is displayed in 24 portraits (happiness, sadness, anger,
or fear)
Scale: 0 = ‘False’, 1 = ‘Correct’
Score: sum of the number of emotions correctly recognised (0 to 24)
N = 58 physicians; missing values: n = 3 (4.9%), Cronbach’s α= .52
External coding of empathy
VES with RIAS
Aggregation of the statement frequencies of four categories (physician statements only): empathy (paraphrasing, interpreting, recognising, or naming other’s emotional state), shows concern or worry (indicates that a condition/event is serious, worrisome, distressing, or deserving special attention), reassurance (indicates optimism, encouragement, relief of worry, or reassurance), and legitimise (indicates that the other’s actions, emotions, or thoughts are understandable and normal)
Scale: number of statements per category divided by the total number of statements
Score: mean across the four categories
n = 243 sessions; missing values: n = 1 (0.4%)
TES
Nine items assessing affective, cognitive, and attitudinal aspects of the physician’s empathy such as concern for the patient, warmth, or understanding of the patient’s feelings.
Scale: 1 = ‘no display of empathy’, 7 = ‘extensive display of empathy’
Score: mean across the nine items
n = 241 sessions; missing values: n = 3 (1.2%)
SVMFF
Degree of synchrony of mean fundamental frequency of patient’s and physician’s voices
Estimates read as correlation coefficients [–1 to +1], positive estimates indicating higher synchrony.
n = 202 sessions; missing values: n = 40 ((19.6%).
  • DANVA = Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy. RIAS = Roter interaction analysis system. SVMFF = Synchrony of Vocal Mean Fundamental Frequencies. TES = Therapist Empathy Scale. VES = verbal empathy statements.