Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education & Health Care

Jefferson Scale of Empathy©

Empathy in patient care... "a cognitive attribute that involves an ability to understand the patient's pain, suffering, and perspective combined with a capability to communicate this understanding and an intention to help."

Permission to use the Jefferson Scale of Empathy© has been given in 88 countries. The JSE has been translated into 59 languages/dialects (PDF). Learn more about the worldwide use of the JSE (PDF).

Dr. Mohammadreza Hojat developed The Jefferson Scale of Empathy© (JSE) to measure empathy in physicians, and other health professionals involved in patient care in a clinical setting; as well as students studying medicine and other forms of health care in preparation for working in a clinical setting.


  •   Medical students (S-version)
  •   Health Professions (HP-version)
  •   Health Professions students (HPS-version)

The HP-version is most appropriate for being administered to physicians and all other health professionals who are involved in patient care, such as nurses, dentists, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, etc. There are 2 versions of the scale for students. One is for administration to medical students (S-version) and the other is most appropriate for health professions students other than medical (HPS-version). All are similar in content with minor modifications in wording to reflect empathic orientation (in the student versions) and empathic behavior (in the physician/health professional version). For example, an item beginning “My understanding…” in the Physician/HP version may begin “Physicians’ understanding…” or “Health care providers’ understanding…” in the medical student and health professions student versions,” respectively. 

The JSE has been translated into 59 languages/dialects (PDF). Learn more about the worldwide use of the JSE (PDF).

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. We do not endorse the accuracy of any translation. You are welcome to improve the accuracy of the translation if deemed necessary. We highly recommend that in translating or improving the translated versions you use the back-translation method and that you examine some aspects of the psychometrics with your own sample. More specifics are provided when you order the scale.

Methods of Administration

The survey forms include the 20 item scale which are measured on a 7-point Likert scale, demographic and specialty information. Options when ordering paper forms:

  1. We will FedEx forms to you and if Jefferson is performing scoring services, you would return them to us for scoring and a standard report would be provided.
  2. We will FedEx forms to you and you can score the scale yourself.
  3. You may purchase permission to print your own forms given that certain conditions regarding the text of the items, their order of appearance, instructions, etc. are met. Please contact us for specific conditions. Scoring instructions will be sent so you can score the scale yourself. 

An order form and shipping and handling charges can be found in the Resources section.

There are two options for online administration. Web administration is available for all versions of the JSE (HP, S and HPS). The number of participants is unlimited for both options.

  1. Administering via the Thomas Jefferson University site, includes two administrations and scoring. A survey code is created for your study and a link is sent to you for survey access by your participants. You will receive a standard report and raw data file. (Additional statistical analysis is available, additional fees apply).
  2. Administering on your own website or secure survey software where scoring is not included and certain conditions apply. The cost is the same; however, an annual license allows you to post the JSE on your own secure website and administer the scale as many times as you like within a 12 month period. Please inquire or see the FAQ for further details.

Scoring Services

Scoring services insure data entry and scoring accuracy and provide uniformity of scoring procedures. See the order form (PDF) for more information.

The Standard Report - The standard report includes:

  1. An empathy score for each respondent (reported by Respondent ID)
  2. Descriptive statistics of scores including mean, standard deviation, range, mode and quartiles for the whole group
  3. A histogram showing distribution of empathy scores for the whole group
  4. Matrix of raw data and individual scores. This file is an Excel workbook with two worksheets. One contains the respondent ID and empathy score for each participant and the other contains the individual response data for all items on the survey. 

Additional Statistical Analyses are available upon request for an additional fee. These include gender/specialty and other group comparisons by total JSE scores, comparisons by custom coded groups, and pre-test and post-test comparisons and longitudinal analysis.