PURPOSE: This study is aimed at identifying the relationships between medical school students' academic burnout, empathy, and calling, and determining whether their calling has a mediating effect on the relationship between academic burnout and empathy.
METHODS: A mixed method study was conducted. One hundred twenty-seven medical students completed a survey. Scales measuring academic burnout, medical students' empathy, and calling were utilized. For statistical analysis, correlation analysis, descriptive statistics analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. For qualitative approach, eight medical students participated in a focus group interview.
RESULTS: The study found that empathy has a statistically significant, negative correlation with academic burnout, while having a significant, positive correlation with calling. Sense of calling proved to be an effective mediator of the relationship between academic burnout and empathy.
CONCLUSION: This result demonstrates that calling is a key variable that mediates the relationship between medical students' academic burnout and empathy. As such, this study provides baseline data for an education that could improve medical students' empathy skills.
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