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Jeffrey D. Robinson

In: The SAGE Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 23: Nonverbal Communication and Physician-Patient Interaction: Review and New Directions

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Nonverbal Communication and Physician-Patient Interaction: Review and New Directions
Nonverbal communication and physician-patient interaction: Review and new directions

Once considered to be an intangible aspect of “bedside manner,” the scientific study of nonverbal communication during visits between patients and medical physicians is now well documented. Research suggests that physicians' nonverbal behavior shapes participants' visit communication (e.g., patients' self-disclosure); ratings of physicians' rapport, dominance, and medical-technical skills; patients' satisfaction with physicians; patients' understanding and recall of visit information; and patients' adherence to physicians' medical recommendations. Physicians' nonverbal behavior is consequential in other ways as well. For example, both the accreditation of residency programs and the certification of physicians require assessment of physicians' competence in “interpersonal skills,” which involve “inherently relational” and “humanistic” aspects of nonverbal and ...

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