Empathy plays an important role in interpersonal relationships, and it also shapes the relationship between human and nonhuman species, affecting the way animals are treated and cared for. Veterinarians play a key role with regard to animal welfare and, especially in companion animal practice, they have to care for nonhuman patients as well as for human clients, showing sensitivity and empathy toward both. However, empathy in veterinary professionals has received very little attention so far. This study investigated empathy toward animals and people in veterinarians, assessing whether and to what extent they are influenced by variables such as gender and length of service. In fact, these variables have been reported to affect empathy in a variety of caring professions. We used the Animal Empathy Scale to assess empathy toward animals and the Empathy Quotient to assess empathy toward people in a sample of 107 veterinarians, practicing in veterinary clinics in Milan area and working mainly with dogs and cats. Our findings are in agreement with the evidence suggesting a process of feminization in the veterinary profession, showing a higher percentage of females than males entering the practice. In addition, results reveal a significant effect of gender on empathy toward animals, with women scoring higher than men, but no effect of length of service. This suggests that, differently from what seems to occur during veterinary training, professionals maintain a good level of empathy toward animals over years. Interestingly, length of service had a significant effect on empathy toward people, with more experienced veterinarians scoring higher than their younger colleagues; this result suggests that the ability to take into account and support pet owners' emotional needs may grow over time. To our knowledge, this is the first study in the literature assessing empathy toward animals and people in veterinarians working in small animal practice. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of empathy in the quality of care, pet owners' satisfaction, and veterinarians' well-being.

Colombo, E., Crippa, F., Calderari, T., Prato Previde, E. (2017). Empathy toward animals and people: The role of gender and length of service in a sample of Italian veterinarians. JOURNAL OF VETERINARY BEHAVIOR, 17, 32-37 [10.1016/j.jveb.2016.10.010].

Empathy toward animals and people: The role of gender and length of service in a sample of Italian veterinarians

CRIPPA, FRANCA
Secondo
;
2017

Abstract

Empathy plays an important role in interpersonal relationships, and it also shapes the relationship between human and nonhuman species, affecting the way animals are treated and cared for. Veterinarians play a key role with regard to animal welfare and, especially in companion animal practice, they have to care for nonhuman patients as well as for human clients, showing sensitivity and empathy toward both. However, empathy in veterinary professionals has received very little attention so far. This study investigated empathy toward animals and people in veterinarians, assessing whether and to what extent they are influenced by variables such as gender and length of service. In fact, these variables have been reported to affect empathy in a variety of caring professions. We used the Animal Empathy Scale to assess empathy toward animals and the Empathy Quotient to assess empathy toward people in a sample of 107 veterinarians, practicing in veterinary clinics in Milan area and working mainly with dogs and cats. Our findings are in agreement with the evidence suggesting a process of feminization in the veterinary profession, showing a higher percentage of females than males entering the practice. In addition, results reveal a significant effect of gender on empathy toward animals, with women scoring higher than men, but no effect of length of service. This suggests that, differently from what seems to occur during veterinary training, professionals maintain a good level of empathy toward animals over years. Interestingly, length of service had a significant effect on empathy toward people, with more experienced veterinarians scoring higher than their younger colleagues; this result suggests that the ability to take into account and support pet owners' emotional needs may grow over time. To our knowledge, this is the first study in the literature assessing empathy toward animals and people in veterinarians working in small animal practice. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of empathy in the quality of care, pet owners' satisfaction, and veterinarians' well-being.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
multivariate analysis, gender, behaviour
English
32
37
6
Colombo, E., Crippa, F., Calderari, T., Prato Previde, E. (2017). Empathy toward animals and people: The role of gender and length of service in a sample of Italian veterinarians. JOURNAL OF VETERINARY BEHAVIOR, 17, 32-37 [10.1016/j.jveb.2016.10.010].
Colombo, E; Crippa, F; Calderari, T; Prato Previde, E
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/140431
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