Relational control patterns in physician-patient clinical encounters: continuing the conversation

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Cecil, Denise Wigginton

Health communication. 1998; 10(2): 125-49.


The purpose of this study is to continue the application of the relational communication approach for describing physician-patient control patterns and provide initial exploration into the implication of these control behaviors on patient satisfaction and compliance. Videotaped family medicine clinical visits were analyzed with Rogers and Farace's (1975) Relational Communication Control Coding Scheme. In addition, telephone surveys were conducted with patients 2 to 3 weeks after the clinical visit to assess levels of patient satisfaction and compliance. Transactional results indicated physicians manifested more control submission, whereas patients engaged in greater control dominance. The resulting outcomes of control behaviors showed an increase in patient compliance when physicians exhibited less control assertiveness and patients showed less control submission. An increase in patient satisfaction was found when physicians showed less control dominance.

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