Components of Patients' and Doctors' Perceptions of Communication Competence During a Primary Care Medical Interview


Although considerable attention has been given to doctor-patient communica- tion, relatively little research on this topic is grounded in theory. Some scholars have suggested that the concept of communication competence may serve as a useful theoretical framework for future research into doctor-patient communication. The purpose of this article was to identify components of doctors' and patients' communicative competence during a primary care medical interview. Doctors and patients were asked to rate self- and other-competence and to identify what particular behaviors led them to their judgments. The behavior descriptions were content analyzed to determine the components of competence assessments. The results suggest that information exchange and relational development comprise most of the behaviors doctors and patients identify with judgments of communication competence. However, additional data indicate that information exchange concerns are dominant on the part of both doctors' and patients' perceptions of self- and other-competence. In addition, doctors and patients agree that the onus of relational work during the medical interview is assumed to fall on the doctors' shoulders.



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Health Communication