Language and Negation Bias: Doctor–Patient Interaction

Effective communication between doctor and patient is generally recognized as an essential element of successful medical practice. For instance, when breaking bad news, communication bears important consequences for patients' psychosocial responses and subsequent adherence to prescribed treatment plans. Relatively little research has addressed the effects of language use in doctor-patient conversations. However, some research suggests that the actual words chosen by doctors to formulate health messages influence patients' responses.

Particularly when breaking bad news to patients and relatives, small differences in word choice can make a big difference. In these sensitive conversations doctors need to be truthful, while simultaneously preserving the hopes of the patient and mitigating information. Patients, in turn, are eager to understand the doctor's real thoughts and expectations about a diagnosis. Although doctors ...

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