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.
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