Student Author(s)

Merrik Campagna, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aaron Franzen, Sociology

Document Type


Event Date



Many medical education studies show that medical students often lose empathy throughout their time in medical school, but thus far we do not know whether these trends have their roots in earlier educational experiences. This research begins to fill this gap, exploring whether indications of these changes in empathy start in undergraduate programs. This is important because patients who feel more empathy from their doctors tend to listen to and trust their doctors more. If we can better understand what factors lead to a loss of empathy we can adjust programs to help negate this effect. Our data comes from a longitudinal cohort study of all incoming Hope students indicating a pre-health interest and nursing students. This data includes a total of 530 students with freshman year response rates ranging from 71% - 84% for the three cohorts. The survey included measures for empathy scale, social support, burnout, humility, boredom proneness, and other factors. We used SPSS to analyze the data. We found social support to be one of the biggest variables impacting change in empathy, reinforcing how important having support is to students in their early college experience.


Title on poster differs from abstract booklet. Poster title: How Empathy is Affected in Undergraduate Pre-medical Students