Verbal behaviors and patterns exhibited by physicians during genetic counseling sessions

Patient Educ Couns. 1984;6(4):165-8. doi: 10.1016/0738-3991(84)90052-1.


Research in interaction and interviewing behaviors usually has focused on the verbal behaviors exhibited by the interactants. These behaviors have been looked upon and analyzed in isolation, that is, as a single event. There is little or no information on physician-patient interactions that analyzes verbal behaviors as being a series of events related to each other. These behaviors, when seen as a chain of events, provide a different and revealing picture of those who exhibit them. A study was undertaken to gather information on physicians' verbal behaviors and verbal patterns during interactions involving genetic counseling. Physicians who were rated high in communication skills spent more time in the affective dimension of the interaction and exhibited more reflection of feelings, emotional probing, reassurance/support, and silence during the interaction with patients. These differences were found in both the sequential verbal pattern data and the individual verbal behavior data.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Verbal Behavior*