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The Relationship of Empathy to Moral Reasoning in First-Year Medical Students

  • Donnie J. Self (a1), Geetha Gopalakrishnan (a2), William Robert Kiser (a3) and Margie Olivarez (a4)

The Norman Rockwell image of the American physician who fixed the broken arm of a child, treated the father for hypertension, and brought an unborn child into this world is now almost nonexistent. Since the time of the Rockwell portrait, a highly technical medical industry has evolved. Now two-thirds of physicians are board certified in subspecialties, and patients visit an average of 3–4 different physicians per year. Today's physicians see themselves less as “benevolent and wise counselors overseeing the patient's welfare and more as objective scientists applying the latest technical methods to bring about the desired end.” The intimate patient-physician relationship that was once the norm in our society is rapidly disappearing.

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C Gilligan . In a different voice: women's conceptions of self and morality. Harvard Educational Review 1977;47(4):481517.

DJ Self , M Olivarez . The influence of gender on conflicts of interest in the allocation of limited critical care resources: justice vs. care. Journal of Critical Care 1993;8(1):6474.

MH Davis . Measuring individual differences in empathy: evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1983;44(1):113–26.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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