Patients' Perceptions of Dental Students' Empathic, Person-Centered Care in a Dental School Clinic in Malaysia

Muneer Gohar Babar, Syed Shahzad Hasan, Wong Mei Yong, Shahid Mitha, Haider Abdulameer Al-Waeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Empathy has been identified as a crucial foundation in building an effective dentist-patient relationship. The aim of this study was to assess patients' perceptions of dental students' empathic care in the primary oral health care clinic at International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May-October 2014. The study also assessed the validity and reliability of the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure in this setting; the association between number of encounters and students' CARE Measure scores; and the association between students' empathy (measured by the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire) and CARE Measure scores. Participants were 283 patients (aged ≥18 years) who were asked to self-complete the ten-item CARE Measure immediately after their clinical encounter with students who provided care under supervision of the teaching staff. The results showed that the CARE Measure demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's α=0.95). A single factor solution emerged, accounting for 69% of the variance. The mean CARE Measure score in the consultations was 43.55±6.14, and 26% of the students achieved the maximum possible score of 50. The mean number of encounters with each student was 2.33±2.78. An increase of one episode was associated with an insignificant average CARE score decrease of 0.05 (-0.28, 0.38), whereas students' empathy was associated with a small increase in average CARE Measure score of 0.63 (0.08, 1.18). These results provide evidence of the measure's ability to support feedback to dental students on their empathy when interacting with patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-412
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


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