Relations between physicians' behaviors and analogue patients' satisfaction, recall, and impressions

Med Care. 1987 May;25(5):437-51. doi: 10.1097/00005650-198705000-00007.


This paper investigates associations between physicians' task-oriented and socioemotional behaviors, on the one hand, and analogue patients' satisfaction, recall of information, and global impressions. The study is based on role-playing subjects' responses to interactions between physicians and simulated patients. Audiotapes of two standardized patient cases presented by trained patient simulators to 43 primary care physicians were rated by role-playing patients (N = 258), and electronically filtered excerpts from the encounters were rated for vocal affect by 37 independent judges. Content analysis was made of the visits' transcripts to assess interaction process and to identify all medical information communicated. Finally, speech error rate was calculated from a combination of audiotape and transcript. Findings revealed that role-playing patients clearly distinguished task from socioemotional behaviors of the physicians, and a consistent pattern of association emerged between physicians' task behaviors and role-playing patients' satisfaction, recall, and impressions. Within the task domain, patient-centered skills (i.e., giving information and counseling) were consistently related to patient effects in a positive direction, but physician-centered behaviors (i.e., giving directions and asking questions) demonstrated the opposite relationship. A negative pattern of association was also evident between physicians' socioemotional behaviors and patient effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Empathy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Voice Quality