Accurate diagnosis of patients' distress levels: The effect of family physicians' ability to take the patient's perspective

Dana Yagil, Michal Biron, Dalit Pat, Miri Mizrahi-Reuveni, Lilach Zoller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Previous research on diagnosis of distress among patients with physical ailments has focused on physicians who specialize in the treatment of chronic illness. This study explores family physicians' accuracy in diagnosing patients' emotional distress. Methods: Questionnaires were administered to family physicians (N = 61) and their patients (N = 496) immediately after a medical encounter. Patients reported their distress levels. Physicians evaluated patients' distress levels and filled out a questionnaire measuring perspective-taking, i.e., the tendency to perceive the point of view of others. Results: Mixed model analyses of nested data showed a moderate positive relationship between physicians' evaluations of patients' distress and patients' self-reported distress. Diagnosis of distress was more accurate among family physicians with a better ability to take the patient's perspective. Conclusion: Family physicians' capacity to accurately diagnose patient distress is positively related to their ability to adopt patients' viewpoint. Practice implications: Family physicians' training should include enhancement of physicians' ability to take the patient's perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1631-1635
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume98
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by the Israeli Foundation Trustees, grant no 44/2011.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

Keywords

  • Distress
  • Emotion detection
  • Physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)

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