Thesis Title

Changing From The Physician-Patient To The Physician-Consumer Relationship: Examining Consumer Involvement In Medical Interactions


Brian Quick

Date of Graduation

Spring 2001


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Kelly McNeilis

Subject Categories



Are health care consumers involved in their healthcare? This study presents a measure that attempts to answer this question. Involvement has been conceptualized in several ways by several researchers across the communication discipline (e.g., Cegala, 1981; Cegala, Cegala, 1984; Cegala, 1989; Goffman, 1963; Parrot, 1995; Petty & Cacioppo, 1979; Petty, Cacioppo & Goldman, 1981; Villaume & Cegala, 1988). In this study, involvement is defined similary to Cegala (1981) as levels of attention in face-to-face interpersonal interaction between the consumer and physician. This study takes a general systems perspective in exploring patient involvement with the physician-consumer relationship by examining the objects, attributes, relationships, and the environment. Thompson (1986) states that involved consumers enjoy greater health than uninvolved consumers. The Consumer Involvement Scale (CIS) was developed to test consumers' involvement level when communicating with physicians in this study. The CIS measures four strategies identified by Thompson (1986) including consumers' question preparation, asking questions, listening, and stating expectations, in addition to discovering consumers overall feelings toward being involved in the decision making process. The scale showed an overall reported reliability of .71. Overall, the participants (N_=300) in this sample reported being moderately involved (M_=4.70,S_D_=.71).


© Brian Quick