Journal List > Korean J Adult Nurs > v.28(4) > 1076405

Korean J Adult Nurs. 2016 Aug;28(4):388-398. Korean.
Published online August 31, 2016.
© 2016 Korean Society of Adult Nursing
Geriatric Hospital Nurses' Empathy, Attitude and Pain Management for Patients with Dementia
Mihyun Lee, MSN, RN,1 and Myonghwa Park, Ph.D., RN2
1Doctoral Student, College of Nursing, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.
2Professor, College of Nursing, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.

Corresponding author: Park, Myonghwa. College of Nursing, Chungnam National University, 266 Munhwa-ro, Jung-gu, Daejeon 35015, Korea. Tel: +82-42-580-8328, Fax: +82-42-580-8309, Email:
Received April 28, 2016; Revised August 09, 2016; Accepted August 22, 2016.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



The purposes of this study were to identify nurses' empathy, attitude and pain management for patients with dementia and the factors associated with their performance of pain management.


The study design was a cross-sectional survey. The participants in the study were 114 nurses working at 12 geriatric hospitals. This study utilized the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), which measures four empathy factors. Nurses' attitudes toward pain and performance of pain management, and general and pain related characteristics were measured by self-administered questionnaires.


Barriers to pain management for patients with dementia were absence of guidelines, prejudice of pain in dementia, and lack of time and knowledge deficit. There was a significant positive correlation between empathic concern and attitudes, perspective-taking of empathy and pain management. There was also a correlation between empathy and pain management. Stepwise linear regression analysis indicated that the significant factors affecting the performance of pain management included perspective-taking of empathy, use of pain management in dementia guideline and attitudes toward pain. These factors explained 24.0% of variance.


The findings from this study suggest that empathy and positive attitude are the important provider attributes which needs to be enhanced by educational programs. It is also necessary to develop and disseminate guidelines for a dementia specific pain management.

Keywords: Dementia; Empathy; Attitude; Pain; Nurses


Table 1
Geriatric Hospital Nurses' General and Pain related Characteristics (N=114)
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Table 2
Empathy, Attitudes, and Performance of Pain Management (N=114)
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Table 3
Differences in Empathy, Attitude, Performance of Pain Management according to the Geriatric Hospital Nurses' Characteristics (N=114)
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Table 4
Correlation among Empathy, Attitude, and Performance of Pain Management (N=114)
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Table 5
Associated Factors with Performance of Pain Management by Stepwise Multiple Regression (N=114)
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This manuscripts is a revision of the first author's master's thesis from College of Nursing, Chungnam National University.

This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2013R1A2A2A01069090).

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