Nonverbal communication and physician-patient rapport: An empirical study

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Studied 71 medical residents and approximately 400 patients to examine the relationship between patients' satisfaction with the medical care they received from their physicians and the nonverbal skills of those physicians. Various aspects of the physicians' personalities were assessed with the Personality Research Form, and their nonverbal decoding skills were measured with the Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity scale. Patients rated their physicians on caring and sensitivity, indicated the extent to which the physicians listened to what they had to say and cared about them as people, and indicated whether they felt they could call the doctor if necessary. Results support the hypothesis that the socioemotional dimension of the physician-patient relationship depends, to a moderate degree at least, on the physician's ability to understand the patient's nonverbal cues of affect and on the physician's ability to intentionally communicate affect through nonverbal channels. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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