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Emotions and the Medical Care Process

  • By: Debra Roter
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Emotions are fundamental to the processes of medical care. Patient and physician emotions act to shape the nature of their relationship and that these emotions are reflected in the medical dialogue. Moreover, the impact of emotions on the patient-physician relationship is evident even if the emotions are not accurately perceived, reciprocated, or even conscious. In defending this thesis, several studies of the emotional experience associated with liking, respect, trust, and racial bias will be described within the context of medical visits.

The Phenomenon of Shared Emotion

In a study designed to explore the phenomenon of shared emotion, J. A. Hall and colleagues asked physicians and their patients to independently rate how much they liked one another and thought the other liked them. Liking was defined as feelings ...

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