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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine if empathy levels correlate with practical examination scores in DPT students. It was hypothesized that students with higher empathy levels would receive better scores on practical examinations. Methods: Participants were a convenience sample of 49 first and second year DPT students from Franklin Pierce University in Goodyear, AZ. After obtaining informed consent, participants completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) to assess personal empathy. These scores were compared with participants’ practical examination scores using a Spearman Rho statistical test with data analysis completed using SPSS software. Results: 49 participants (26 females, 23 males) with mean practical examination score (92.5% ± 0.02) and mean empathy score (72.80 ± 18.66). Spearman Rho correlation (rs = 0.864, p < 0.000). Conclusions: A significant positive correlation between empathy and practical examination scores in physical therapy students was found. Educators can use these findings to provide resources to students to assist with practical examination performance.

Author Bio(s)

Scott Richardson, PT, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Franklin Pierce University located in Goodyear Arizona. He has received the Advanced Competency in Home Health Care from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Danika Aten, Garrett Bennett, Matthew Koster, and Hannah Svilar are all graduate students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Franklin Pierce University located in Goodyear Arizona.

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