Volume 5, Issue 2

  • 2020, August

    original research

    Empathy, Arrogance and Social Desirability Among Medical Students in Puerto Rico: An Exploratory Study Post- Hurricane MaríaOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    Introduction

    Medical and psychological literature finds that empathy is crucial in the doctor-patient relationship, and that in the last 30-years there has been a decrease among college students, particularly medical students. After the passing of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, many medical professionals migrated, leaving the island with fewer specialists to teach the remaining medical community. This is the first such study conducted with medical students in Puerto Rico. It examines the perception of empathy from the medical student perspective amidst the particular historical context of a national emergency.

    Method

    Three instruments were used: The Jefferson Scale of Empathy (Student Spanish Version) (JSE-S), Arrogance Scale (AS) and Social Desirability Scale. A Non-Experimental Correlational Exploratory study was carried out with 200 medical students (55.5% female; 44.5% male), who were coursing third (45.5%) or fourth year (54.5%), from three major medical schools on the island. The students signed informed consents and also answered sociodemographic questions.

    Findings

    The JSE-S demonstrated an acceptable internal consistency reliability (α=0.79) with 11 items and three underlying factors. Female students showed higher empathy scores than their male counterparts (M=73.96 vs. M=70.22, p=0.001). The JSE-S and the AS were inversely correlated. Results support that social desirability is not statistically significant as a moderator between empathy and arrogance. Significant differences were found on arrogance scores pertaining to medical specialty and on religious background. Empathy and arrogance were unrelated to age, coursing year, income or university of precedence.

    Conclusions

    Raising awareness about the importance of empathy through positive role modeling, interpersonal dynamics and valuing the doctor-patient relationship through the formative years of medical school is recommended.

    Keywords

    Empathy; Jefferson Scale of Empathy; Medical students; Puerto Rico; Arrogance; Social desirability.


  • 2020, September

    original research

    Vaping and Edibles: Self-Reported Usage Patterns Among Teens In and Out of TreatmentOpen Access

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    Objective

    This article examines one key aspect of the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI) Institute’s forthcoming third iteration of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI-A3). Overall project aims were to revise the second version of the adolescent SASSI (SASSI-A2), and to update new symptom-related identifiers of substance use disorders in adolescents according to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) guidelines.

    Methods

    We added new questions regarding cannabidiol (CBD) edible consumption and the extent of vaping to review and subsequently address these dangers in teens. Identifying these patterns will inevitably direct the course of subsequent clinical interviews and treatment planning. Early intervention is a critical component towards preventing possible negative outcomes for substance misusing teens.

    Results

    This aspect of the research demonstrated a connection between a higher acknowledged usage pattern of teens in treatment versus teens not in treatment. Correlations between beliefs associated with marijuana legalization, marijuana usage by family and friends, tobacco use, connection between age at first use, and the onset of regular usage patterns were also shown to be significantly higher among teens in treatment.

    Conclusions

    Teens that begin using alcohol, drugs, and tobacco early in adolescence are more likely to engage in vaping and edible usage. They are also more likely to use at a more frequent rate. In addition, teens who are surrounded by family and friends who engage in marijuana use are more likely to be supportive of its recreational use and legalization. This acknowledged information on the SASSI-A3 can help direct treatment planning early in the counseling relationship and provide a gateway for bringing family in the treatment and education process.

    Keywords

    Adolescents; Vaping; Edibles; Tobacco; Marijuana; Cannabis.


  • 2020, December

    original research

    Empathy: Challenges Experienced by Social Workers in the Healthcare Sector on the Island of Crete, GreeceOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    Introduction
    Empathy in social work is one of the most important factors that can bring change in the patient, by developing a productive relationship. The purpose of this study is to explore empathy in the practice of social work, as it is used by professional social workers.
    Method
    Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 social workers in public health services in Crete. Responses were recorded, and content analysis was used to analyze the data.
    Findings
    There were differences in the way that social workers perceive the concept of empathy, depending on their prior experiences. It was also found that they are more “sensitive” when patients have a common problem with them. Among the difficulties that prevented them from being empathetic was having “a difficult personal period” that affected their work. This study has also identified the importance of professional training for the development of empathy skills, and the key-role of work experience. Moreover, it highlighted the importance of co-operation between the researchers and the social workers for generating efficacious and valuable information.
    Conclusion
    This study emphasizes the importance of empathy as a necessary skill in the relationship between social workers and patients, and the need for in-depth scientific research and analyze on this issue in Greece.
    Keywords
    Difficulties; Obstacles; Empathy; Social worker; Skill; Patient.