Vol. 15 nº 3 - Jul/Aug/Set de 2021
Original Article Páginas: 381 a 386

Depression and empathy in health professionals who work in the long-term care institutions for older adults

Authors Marina Miranda Borges1; Ana Julia de Lima Bomfim2; Marcos Hortes Nisihara Chagas1,2,3


keywords: depression, empathy, homes for the aged, aged.

Empathy is an important factor to guarantee the quality of care provided in the long-term care institutions (LTCIs) for older adults, and depression is a factor that affects the health of the professional and, consequently, the care. Thus, it is important that studies are conducted on the relationship of these variables in this context.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to verify the relationship between empathy and depressive symptoms among health professionals working in the LTCIs.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out at LTCIs in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The final sample was constituted by 101 health professionals (i.e., caregivers and nursing technicians) with direct participation in the care of institutionalized older adults. The instruments were used as follows: the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) to assess empathy and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for the diagnosis of depression. For the analyses, the patients were divided into groups with and without depression, according to the score of the PHQ-9.
RESULTS: The prevalence of depression among health professionals was 19.8%. Significant statistical differences were found between the groups for the total score of the IRI (p=0.029), for the emotional domain (p=0.023), and for the personal distress (p=0.009).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that the presence of depression among health professionals at LTCIs is related to the higher levels of empathy, especially in the emotional domain. Thus, future studies that contribute to understanding how care must be provided with empathy, but without harming the health of the professional, should be carried out.


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