Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Center for Research in Medical Education & Health Care

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE)

What is the JSE?

The Jefferson Scale of Empathy is a validated, 20-item scale that is designed to measure empathy in physicians and other practicing health care professionals (HP-version), medical students (S-version) and other health care professional students (HPS-version). It has been translated into 53 languages and has been used in more than 80 countries. All versions of the JSE are copyrighted by Thomas Jefferson University.

Why are there different versions of the scale?

There are three official versions of the JSE. One version was developed for administration to physicians and other practicing health professionals (HP-Version). The HP version can be administered to physicians and ALL other health professionals who are involved in patient care, such as nurses, dentists, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, etc.

The other versions were developed for administration to medical students (S-version) and to other health professions students (HPS-version). All are similar in content with minor modifications in wording of some items to maintain their face and content validities for the target populations. For example, an item beginning “My understanding…” in the Physician/HP version begins “Physicians’ understanding…” or “Health care providers’ understanding…” in the medical student and health professions student versions,” respectively.

Can I get a translated copy of the JSE?

The JSE has been translated into 54 languages/dialects as of May 2015. To see a table of translations and their availability, click here. When you purchase the JSE, the English version of the scale is sent to you with permission to translate the scale into your language. If a translated version in your language is available we will also send that to you along with contact information for the translator. We do not endorse the accuracy of any translation. We suggest that you compare the translated version with the original English version to judge if the translation is accurate. You are welcome to improve the accuracy of the translation if deemed necessary. We highly recommend using the back-translation procedures in translating or improving the translated versions. We also recommend that you examine some aspects of the psychometrics (item-total score correlations, alpha coefficient) with your own sample.

Can the JSE be administered to patients?

The JSE is designed for administration to students and practitioners in the health professions. We have developed a brief 5-item scale, the Jefferson Scale of Patient SPerceptions of Physician Empathy (JSPPPE). This scale has been administered to patients to examine the relationship between physicians’ self-reported empathy and their patients’ perception of the physicians’ empathy. Please contact us (empathy@jefferson.edu) if you wish to use this scale.

How do I reference the JSE?

For citation purposes, please cite Dr. Hojat's book as the major source when referencing the JSE:

Hojat, M (2016) Empathy in health professions education and patient care. New York; Springer International.

Methods of JSE Administration: On Paper or Online

The JSE can be administered on paper forms, on the Thomas Jefferson University website, or on another institution’s website.

How does ordering paper forms work?

When you purchase paper forms, you have several options:

1. We will FedEx forms to you and you can return to us for scoring

2.  We mail forms to you and you can score the scale yourself. You will receive a scoring algorithm and User's Guide with your order.

3. You may purchase permission to print your own forms given that certain conditions regarding the unchanged presentation of the items, their order of appearance, instructions, response scale, etc. are met. The cost of using printed forms or printing them yourself is the same.  

How does administration on the Thomas Jefferson University website work?

Procedures for web administration are:

  • A survey code is created for your test and the web address (link) is sent to you.
  • You contact each of your participants, giving them the web address and telling them what Respondent ID you want them to use. The ID must be unique for each individual. Scores will be reported by this ID code. It may have a maximum of 9 alphanumeric characters.
  • Participants use the link to go to the website, log in with their “Respondent ID” and complete the JSE.
  • You contact us to verify your survey closing date, your data is processed and the standard report is emailed to you.
     

Can the same respondent complete the survey on the Thomas Jefferson University website more than once?

No, if a respondent logs in to the survey with the assigned unique ID code, and exits before the scale is completed, s/he will be able to complete the survey upon logging in again with the exact same ID code; however, once the scale is complete, that ID code may not be used to enter the survey a second time. Pretests and posttests, which are matched based on the unique ID code, constitute separate administrations.

May I post the scale on my own website?

Yes, you can. When you purchase an annual license, you can post the JSE on your own website given that certain conditions regarding the unchanged presentation of the items, their order of appearance, instructions, response scale, etc. are met. Please see order form for pricing. JSE scoring services are not available when data are collected on other websites. Contact us for specific conditions. Once we receive your agreement to the conditions, the order can be processed.

May I post a portion of the scale on my own website?

The psychometric support we have reported is applicable to the entire scale and we highly recommend using the entire scale to maintain integrity in scoring and allow comparability of your results. If a portion of the scale is used, the study investigators are responsible for providing evidence in support of psychometrics of the items selected. We strongly recommend that some indicators of psychometric support for the revised version be examined by calculating the Cronbach coefficient alpha (an indicator of reliability) and correlations between responses to each item and the total score (minus corresponding item) to verify that each of the items selected contributes positively and significantly to the total score.
 

Scoring of the JSE & Report Details

What is included in a standard report?

A standard report includes:

  • Descriptive statistics of scores including mean, standard deviation, range, mode and
    quartiles for the entire sample
  • A histogram showing distribution of empathy scores for the entire sample
  • An empathy score for each respondent
  • Matrix of raw data and individual scores in electronic form (Excel spreadsheet)

What is the advantage of having forms scored instead of scoring them myself?

We offer our services to insure accuracy and consistency in data entry and integrity in scoring. Our scoring programs include identification and handling of missing data and dealing with outliers as well as scoring. If you choose to score the JSE yourself, you should have verification of data entry and you must agree to adhere to our scoring algorithm.

Additional scoring is also available to insure accuracy and consistency in group comparison analysis and additional demographic parameters.

How long does it take to get a report?

Generally, reports are emailed within 10 business days of receipt of the forms, or if the JSE is web administered, reports are emailed within 10 business days of the client’s verification notice to close the survey. Additional analyses and/or problems in coding paper forms may delay completion. Reports for surveys administered on Thomas Jefferson University web are not sent until payment is received.
 

Are norms available for the scale?

Norm tables and cut off scores are typically calculated using data collected from representative samples at the national level. We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to develop national norm tables and determine cut off scores.  At the present time, we recommend that the score distribution for your sample be examined. Low scorers can be identified at the lower tail of the score distribution by using standard deviation units below the mean score, or a certain percent of low scores on the score distribution.

Where is the JSE being used?

Click here to see the worldwide use of the JSE.

To see the list of languages the JSE has been translated into, click here.

For further information, please see the following bibliograpy collections:

Publications by Center staff

Publications by national and international researchers

Payment Information

May I pay with a credit card?

We do not accept credit cards, money orders or purchase orders, only checks or electronic wire transfers. Please contact us for more details. We understand that preparing a check may take time. If time is critical to your study, we can send the invoice along with the order so your research will not be delayed.

What are the shipping and handling charges for ordering forms?

 Please see table for shipping and handling charges.