Do gender-dyads have different communication patterns? A comparative study in Western-European general practices

Patient Educ Couns. 2002 Dec;48(3):253-64. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(02)00178-7.


From the viewpoint of quality of care, doctor-patient communication has become more and more important. Gender is an important factor in communication. Besides, cultural norms and values are likely to influence doctor-patient communication as well. This study examined (1). whether or not communication patterns of gender-dyads in general practice consultations differ across and between Western-European countries, and (2). if so, whether these differences continue to exist when controlling for patient, GP and consultation characteristics. Doctor-patient communication was assessed in six Western-European countries by coding video taped consultations of 190 GPs and 2812 patients. Cluster analysis revealed three communication patterns: a biomedical, a biopsychosocial and a psychosocial pattern. Across countries, communication patterns of the female/female dyad differed from that of the other gender-dyads. Differences in communication patterns between countries could especially be explained by differences in consultations of male doctors, irrespective of the patients' gender. It is important to take into consideration differences between gender-dyads and between countries when studying gender effects on communication across countries or when comparing studies performed in different countries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Belgium
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Netherlands
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Women / psychology
  • Sex*
  • Social Values
  • Spain
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Videotape Recording
  • Women / psychology*