Clinical

BJC Open article

British Journal of Cancer (2003) 88, 658–665. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600798 www.bjcancer.com
Published online 4 March 2003

Association of perceived physician communication style with patient satisfaction, distress, cancer-related self-efficacy, and perceived control over the disease

R Zachariae1,2, C G Pedersen1,2, A B Jensen2, E Ehrnrooth2, P B Rossen2 and H von der Maase2

  1. 1Psychooncology Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Correspondence: Dr R Zachariae, Psychooncology Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital, Barthsgade 5,3, 8200 Århus N, Denmark. E-mail: bzach@akh.aaa.dk

Received 29 May 2002; Revised 6 November 2002; Accepted 9 December 2002

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the association of physician communication behaviours as perceived by the patient with patient reported satisfaction, distress, cancer-related self-efficacy, and perceived control over the disease in cancer patients. Questionnaires measuring distress, self-efficacy, and perceived control were completed prior to and after the consultation by 454 patients attending an oncology outpatient clinic. After the consultation, the patients also rated the physicians' communicative behaviours by completing a patient–physician relationship inventory (PPRI), and the physicians were asked to estimate patient satisfaction. The overall results showed that higher PPRI scores of physician attentiveness and empathy were associated with greater patient satisfaction, increased self-efficacy, and reduced emotional distress following the consultation. In contrast, lower PPRI scores were associated with reduced ability of the physician to estimate patient satisfaction. The results confirm and expand previous findings, suggesting that communication is a core clinical skill in oncology.

Keywords:

patient–physician relationship; communication skills; self-efficacy; anxiety; depression; anger