Meta-analysis of correlates of provider behavior in medical encounters

Med Care. 1988 Jul;26(7):657-75. doi: 10.1097/00005650-198807000-00002.


This article summarizes the results of 41 independent studies containing correlates of objectively measured provider behaviors in medical encounters. Provider behaviors were grouped a priori into the process categories of information giving, questions, competence, partnership building, and socioemotional behavior. Total amount of communication was also included. All correlations between variables within these categories and external variables (patient outcome variables or patient and provider background variables) were extracted. The most frequently occurring outcome variables were satisfaction, recall, and compliance, and the most frequently occurring background variables were the patient's gender, age, and social class. Average correlations and combined significance levels were calculated for each combination of process category and external variable. Results showed significant relations of small to moderate average magnitude between these external variables and almost all of the provider behavior categories. A theory of provider-patient reciprocation is proposed to account for the pattern of results.

Publication types

  • Bibliography
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Bibliographies as Topic*
  • Communication
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Social Class