Does watching a movie improve empathy? A cluster randomized controlled trial


Background: We studied if watching a movie about the patient physician encounter alone or in combination with a communication skills training workshop could improve empathy score of medical students. Methods: One hundred and thirty three medical students participated in one of the following four groups of the study. Group A: a three hour workshop (42 students); group B: watching the movie “The Doctor” (23 students); group C: watching the movie “The Doctor”, then, participating in a three hour workshop the next day (22 students); group D: control group with no intervention (46 students). Participants completed Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE), Student Version to assess empathy score before and after the intervention, and one month later. A linear mixed effect model analyzed the effect of intervention across groups considering the effects of other significant variables. Results: All of the three interventions had an immediate improving effect on empathy scores compared to control group. However, the improvement effect remained significant only in groups A (p=.015) and C (p=.001) one month later. Conclusions: Watching selected movies has a significant but transient effect on empathy of students. Combining two methods of watching the movie and communication skills workshop, seems to add the beneficial effects.

How to Cite
AhmadzadehA., Nasr EsfahaniM., Ahmadzad-AslM., ShalbafanM., & ShariatS. V. (2019). Does watching a movie improve empathy? A cluster randomized controlled trial. Canadian Medical Education Journal, 10(4), e4-e12.
Major Contributions