alphabet soup


For anyone not familiar with the research and literature on wellness and related issues, all those acronyms can start to feel a little daunting after a while. What’s the difference between the JSPE and the JSPPPE (how many “Ps” are supposed to be in there anyway)? Is the personality test called the MBI or the MBTI? And what do all those four letter words like ESTJ, INFP, and ISTP all mean? IMHO it was time to create a short list of explanations. Have another acronym? Would love to hear your comments below.

MBSR – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Originally developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to help patients struggling with mood disorders, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) techniques have since been widely used and modified for a variety of different learners and situations. The original course consists of eight, three-hour session once weekly and one all-day session. Each week, participants are assigned an intensive schedule of meditation and practicing mindfulness. Multiple adaptations of this course now exist, ranging from single-day workshops to online programs.

MBI – Maslach Burnout Inventory 

Christina Maslach and colleagues helped to develop the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which has become the most widely used scoring system for measuring burnout. The MBI operationalizes burnout as a triad of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and depersonalization. It consists of a 22-item questionnaire that asks the user to rate items such as “I feel emotionally drained from my work” on a Likert scale ranging from “Never” to “Always.” There have been several different types of the MBI developed for different populations, such as the MBI-Human Services Survey and the MBI-Educators Survey. A two-item adaptation of the MBI has also shown promise in accurately identifying burnout, with the additional benefit of easier administration due to the abbreviated length of the questionnaire.

  • Maslach C, Schaufeli WB, Leiter MP. Job Burnout. Annu Rev Psychol. 2001. 52:397-422.
  • West CP, Nyrbye LN, Sloan JA, Shanafelt TD. Single-item Measures of Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization are Useful for Assessing Burnout in Medical Professionals. J Gen Intern Med. 2009; 24(12):1318-1321.

MBTI – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The MBTI was originally created by a mother-daughter team, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, from the typological theories proposed by Carl Jung. Jung believed that there are four primary psychological functions through which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of these four functions tends to predominate in any given individual. Briggs and Myers took his ideas and eventually developed what came to be known as the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, first published in 1962.


The MBTI asks a series of questions in order to rank an individual along four different dichotomies: extroversion-introversion (attitudes), sensing-intuition (functions), thinking-feeling (functions), and judging-perceiving (lifestyle).  All possible combinations of these four dichotomies are shown in the grid above. Each four letter combination is characteristically associated with a well-known personality type. For example, ENTJs are known as natural leaders, while ISFJs maintain a strong sense of duty. The MBTI has been used in a variety of contexts, from conflict management to to work productivity. More recently, there has been some interesting emerging controversy surrounding the underlying assumptions of the MBTI.

TKI – Thomas-Kilmann Instrument

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a personality-type test that consists of thirty pairs of statements for which the user must choose one of two provided options for each statement. For example, one item describes collaborating and the other describes avoiding. The TKI identifies five different styles of conflict: competing, avoiding, accommodating, collaborating, and compromising.

JSPE – Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy

The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy was developed by a group of researchers at the Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in order to measure attitudes towards empathy in physicians. Users rank different statements such as “Because people are different, it is almost impossible for me to see things from my patients’ perspectives” on a Likert scale from “Strongly disagree” to “Strongly agree.” Empathy is an integral component to the physician-patient relationship and studies have shown that demonstration of empathy improves patient outcomes, results in a decreased rate of litigation, and increases both patient and family satisfaction. The JSPE is the most widely used measure in the context of patient care and has been translated into more than 25 different languages.

JSPPPE – Jefferson Scale of Patient Perceptions of Physician Empathy

In many ways, the JSPPPE is similar to the JSPE in its format and administration. It is a 5-item instrument with response options presented on a 7-point Likert scale. from “Strongly disagree” to “Strongly agree.”However, the JSPPPE is given to patients in order to evaluate their perceptions of the interactions with their physicians. It is designed to measure the degree to which demonstration of physician empathy is perceived by the patient (which may in fact, differ from the physician’s perception of his or her demonstration of empathy). Like the JSPE, the JSPPPE has also been validated in several settings and is another useful measure of physician empathy as it directly relates to the physician-patient relationship.

One response to “alphabet soup

  1. Pingback: value of introversion | akosmed·

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