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FEM: Revista de la Fundación Educación Médica

On-line version ISSN 2014-9840Print version ISSN 2014-9832


GUILERA, Teresa. Empathy and arts in medical students. FEM (Ed. impresa) [online]. 2018, vol.21, n.4, pp.209-213. ISSN 2014-9840.


Empathy is the ability to identify and understand the thoughts and feelings of others and to respond with appropriate emotions. Creative people are able to perceive emotions and identify them accurately. Medical empathy could be considered an art that can be learned with different artistic expressions.


To analyze the relationship between empathy and art in medical students.

Subjects and methods:

110 volunteers completed a questionnaire with questions related to artistic expression and the habit of non-medical reading. It was used three empathy scales: Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, Empathy Quotient and Interpersonal Reactivity Index with four subscales: perspective taking, fantasy, empathetic concern and personal distress.


77.4º were women, 69.1º had done some artistic expression and 45.5º regularly read non-medical literature. Empathic concern (p = 0.026) and artistic expression (p = 0.007) were higher in women. Only the students who had done some artistic expression showed a higher score on fantasy subscale (p = 0.015).


The ability to put yourself in fictitious situations is more developed in people with artistic preferences. It would be interesting to encourage the habit of reading in medical students, and that they could maintain some artistic discipline. In this way, creativity, artistic appreciation and empathic skills, so necessary in the professional future of medical students, would be stimulated.

Keywords : Arts; Creativity; Empathy; Literature; Medical students.

        · abstract in Spanish     · text in Spanish     · Spanish ( pdf )