Evaluated the effect of varied physician affect on subject recall, anxiety, and perceptions in a simulated tense and ambiguous medical situation. Forty women at risk for breast cancer viewed videotapes of an oncologist presenting--with either worried or nonworried affect--mammogram results. Although the mammogram results and the oncologist were the same in both presentation, analyses indicated that, compared to the women receiving the results from a nonworried physician, the women receiving the results from a worried physician recalled significantly less information, perceived the clinical situation as significantly more severe, reported significantly higher levels of state anxiety, and had significantly higher pulse rates. These results suggest that physician affect plays a critical role in patient reaction to medical information. Implications for compliance research, patient satisfaction, and physician training are discussed.