Thermometer of warmth in the patient-provider relationship (WARMOMETER)--theory-based development of a patient self-report measure and initial validation using cognitive interview methodology

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Mar;82(3):361-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.01.003.


Objective: The aims of this study are twofold: (1) the theory-based development of a patient self-report measure of physician warmth and (2) the application of cognitive interview methodology to understand patients' perception and interpretation of this new measure.

Methods: A draft measure was developed based on an in-depth literature review of the concept of human warmth by a multidisciplinary expert group. Sixteen cognitive probing interviews were conducted to examine how patients perceive and interpret this new measure and to identify potential problems. A content analysis of the interviews was used to evaluate findings.

Results: Findings indicate that the WARMOMETER is a short patient self-report assessment of physician warmth, which seems easy and intuitive to understand. In addition, most respondents were found to share a common concept of physician warmth.

Conclusions: Verification of our study hypotheses and confirmation of the theoretical assumptions of human warmth give basic indications that the WARMOMETER seems to be a valid and sensitive patient self-report instrument for assessing the socio-emotional quality of physicians.

Practice implications: These first promising results of our cognitive interviews suggest that the WARMOMETER may also be used and further validated in future health communication studies, also with other healthcare professionals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition*
  • Communication*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Self Report
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires