Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
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."

World map of Jefferson Scale of Empathy Worldwide use

Permission to use the Jefferson Scale of Empathy has been given in 85 countries. The JSE has been translated into 56 languages/dialects (PDF). Learn more about the worldwide use of the JSE (PDF).


Center researchers developed The Jefferson Scale of Empathy (JSE) to measure empathy in physicians and other health professionals. 


  •   Medical students (S-version)
  •   Health Professions (HP-version)
  •   Health Professions students (HPS-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. There are 2 versions of the scale for students. One is for administration to medical students (S-version) and the other is for health professions students (HPS version). Both are similar in content with minor modifications in wording to avoid confusion. For example, an item beginning “Physicians’ understanding…” in the medical student version may begin “Health care providers’ understanding…” in the health professions student version.  

The JSE has been translated into 56 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 TJU 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).

  1. Administering on the Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) site, scoring is included. A survey code is created for your study and a link is sent to you. You will receive a standard report and data file. Additional statistical analysis is available for an additional fee.
  2. Administering on your own website 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 for those 12 months under agreed conditions. Please 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 for more information.

The Standard Report - The standard report includes:

a) An empathy score for each respondent (reported by Respondent ID)

           b) Descriptive statistics of scores including mean, standard deviation, range, mode and                quartiles for the whole group

           c) A histogram showing distribution of empathy scores for the whole group

d) 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 added 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.  

We can also offer customized analyses based on your needs.