Physician and practice characterisitics were reviewed in relation to the quality of the doctor-patient relationship in primary medical care. This relationship was defined in terms of communication between physicians and patients, patient satisfaction with care, and physician awareness of patient concerns. The study subjects were mothers of infants and pregnant women, identified from the offices of a random sample of primary care physicians is a single community. The patients of 49 physicians, 363 pregnant women and the mothers of 523 infants were the subjects of the study. When controlled for patient characteristics, communication was better for pediatricians with mothers of infants and for obstetricians with pregnant women as compared with other physicians. Mothers of infants were more highly satisfied with care provided by residency-trained physicians; pregnant women were more satisfied with non-Board certified physicians. Physician awareness of patient concerns presented a mixed pattern of associations with several physicians and practice characteristics. These findings suggest that physician credentials are not consistently associated with the three identified dimensions of the doctor-patient relationship.