Patient-oriented interventions to improve communication in a medical office visit

Health Psychol. 1990;9(4):390-404. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.9.4.390.


Examined a simple intervention to improve the patient's contribution to communication in a medical office visit. In the first study, women awaiting a medical appointment were randomly assigned either to a group that was asked to list three questions to ask their physician or to a control group. Women who listed questions asked more questions in the visit and reported being less anxious. In the second study, a third group that received a message from their physician encouraging question asking was added. Both experimental groups asked more of the questions they had wished to, had greater feelings of control, and were more satisfied with the visit in general and with the information they received. The two experimental groups did not differ significantly, suggesting that the effect may be attributed either to thinking one's questions out ahead of time or to the perception that one's physician is open to questions.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Communication*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / psychology
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Referral and Consultation*