Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality: A pilot study

Christy J.W. Ledford, Mollie R. Canzona, Dean Seehusen, Lauren A. Cafferty, Monica E. Schmidt, Joseph C. Huang, Melinda M. Villagran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Research suggests that physicians should pursue spiritual issues and that patients desire to discuss religion/spirituality (R/S) in medical encounters. This study explored the differences in physician communication in response to patient inquiry or disclosure of R/S and hypothesizes that physician communication will differ when patients disclose R/S as contrasted to inquire about R/S. METHODS: Family physicians and family medicine resident physicians were recruited from a family medicine department at a community hospital (n=27). An objective structured clinical examination, with a standardized patient encounter, was used to expose the participants to a conversation regarding R/S. Participants were assigned, by alternating clustered assignment, to two conditions: patient disclosure of R/S or patient inquiry about physician R/S. The primary outcome measure was physician response, specifically physician-control, partnership-building, and supportive-talk messages. RESULTS: When the patient asks questions about R/S, physicians communicate more control messages and less supportive talk messages than when the patient discloses information about R/S. CONCLUSIONS: Training physicians to anticipate and respond to patient disclosure and inquiry will increase the likelihood they can enact patient-centered strategies. These methods should focus on teaching residents how to be sensitive to the R/S context of their patients and to recognize their own intuitive reactions to patient communication in that context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-142
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Medicine
Volume47
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Spirituality
Religion
Communication
Physicians
Disclosure
Medicine
Community Hospital
Family Physicians
Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

Cite this

Ledford, C. J. W., Canzona, M. R., Seehusen, D., Cafferty, L. A., Schmidt, M. E., Huang, J. C., & Villagran, M. M. (2015). Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality: A pilot study. Family Medicine, 47(2), 138-142.

Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality : A pilot study. / Ledford, Christy J.W.; Canzona, Mollie R.; Seehusen, Dean; Cafferty, Lauren A.; Schmidt, Monica E.; Huang, Joseph C.; Villagran, Melinda M.

In: Family Medicine, Vol. 47, No. 2, 01.01.2015, p. 138-142.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ledford, CJW, Canzona, MR, Seehusen, D, Cafferty, LA, Schmidt, ME, Huang, JC & Villagran, MM 2015, 'Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality: A pilot study', Family Medicine, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 138-142.
Ledford CJW, Canzona MR, Seehusen D, Cafferty LA, Schmidt ME, Huang JC et al. Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality: A pilot study. Family Medicine. 2015 Jan 1;47(2):138-142.
Ledford, Christy J.W. ; Canzona, Mollie R. ; Seehusen, Dean ; Cafferty, Lauren A. ; Schmidt, Monica E. ; Huang, Joseph C. ; Villagran, Melinda M. / Differences in physician communication when patients ask versus tell about religion/spirituality : A pilot study. In: Family Medicine. 2015 ; Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 138-142.
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