Empathy is an important competence in the professional development of medical students. The purpose of our study was to compare the levels and scales of empathy in people studying in different educational strategies.
The study was conducted between April 2019 and March 2020. Medicine, nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, psychology, pedagogy and sociology students were the participants of this study. University students preparing for medical professions (n = 1001) and students of programs unrelated to medicine (n = 700) underwent the Empathy Quotient test (EQ-40). We have compared results in both study groups with the use of the distribution of density, analysis of variance and student’s t-test.
The average results received by students of the university preparing for medical professions were lower (M = 42.6) than those of the non-medical university students (M = 45.3) and the differences between the universities turned out to be statistically important (t = - 5.15, df = 1699, p < 0.001). As many as 14.6% of the students in the 1st EQ class were preparing for various medical professions while 9% studied social sciences. 18.2% of all medical programme students (n = 412) manifested the lowest empathy class. Our research has revealed that the students with Asperger profile (AP) and high-functioning autism (HFA) studied at universities preparing for medical professions (n = 18) more frequently than at non-medical universities (n = 5).
We have noticed a serious indicator of erosion in the levels of empathy in medical students and an increase in the number of people with AP and HFA. Empathy decreases in students after the third year of their studies, regardless of the kind of university. We recommend an introduction of career counselling when specialization is being chosen.

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