INTRODUCTION Only a few contributions, often anecdotical, can be found in scientific literature concerning the role of kindness in medical interactions. As stated by Goffman (1963), kindness is the starting point for freedom in human relationships, and it is crucial in the construction of trust in physician-patient relationship (P-PR) (Kajubi, 1999). More recently, Torke et al. (2004) found kindness to be a significative predictive index for shared decision making, while Geraedts et al. (2007) reported kindness as a prominent hospital quality indicator. The role of kindness in physician-patient relationship has never been fully explored until now. A new psychometric method in the measurement of kindness in P-PR is here presented in a preliminary comparison between self-evaluated and perceived kindness. METHODS An 80-items pool of items regarding kindness and related aspects of behavior was generated, starting from literature. In a focus group 20 items (5-point Likert-type) were selected forming a self-rating scale for kindness: the Kindness Evaluation Scale (KES). A parallel form (p-KES) was developed for patients, in which items concern the perceived kindness of physician from the patient point of view. RESULTS Data will be presented regarding the convergent validity of self-evaluated vs. perceived kindness measurement scales. Preliminary data show a poor correlation between self-evaluated kindness in physicians and perceived kindness by patients, with a major role for gender, being female more able in perceiving physician kindness. DISCUSSION Further research is needed to evaluate the validity of newly proposed scales for kindness and the real perception of kindness in P-PR.
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