Comparison of the Rate of Empathy of Dental Students and Dentists with Drug Addicted Dental Patients in Isfahan, Iran, in 2018: A Descriptive Cross Sectional Study

Document Type : Original Articles


1 Dentist, School of Dentistry, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Community Health Research Center, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: The relationship between oral health care providers and the service customers has been noticed seriously by dental education system. The aim in this study is to study and compare the rate of empathy of dentists and dental students with addicted subjects in Isfahan, Iran, in 2018.Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the study population consisted of dental students of Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, and dentists working at dental clinics of Isfahan. In total, 100 participants from each group entered the study by the convenience sampling method. A two-part questionnaire including demographic information and Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) was filled out by the volunteers. The chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, independent t-test, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and a linear regression model were employed for statistical analysis of the data.Results: The rate of empathy with the addicted subjects was significantly higher among the dentists (62.01 ± 4.06) in comparison to the dental students (59.05 ± 4.48) (P < 0.001). The mean score of empathy was not significantly different between men and women or between single and married dentists and dental students (P > 0.050). A direct but poor association was revealed between the age of dental students and their empathy with the addicted subjects (r = 0.271; P ≤ 0.050), but among the dentists, age was not associated with empathy (P = 0.780). Based on the linear regression model, the rate of empathy of the dentists with the addicted subjects was significantly higher than that of the dental students (P < 0.001). No significant association existed between the empathy rate and demographic characteristics such as gender, age, marital status, and job experience (P > 0.050).Conclusion: Although the rate of empathy with the addicted subjects was significantly higher among the dentists compared to the dental students, both groups revealed a moderate level of empathy. Thus, dental education program planners should introduce such educational programs into the dental curricula to increase the empathy with drug addicted individuals.


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