Conclusions about the connections between communication behaviors and health outcomes are not without controversy. Many cross-sectional studies provide evidence for a correlational relationship between communication and health outcomes. There is disagreement, however, about whether it is legitimate to assume that health outcomes are directly or linearly related to communication variables. For example, correlations between provider communication and patient outcomes do not account for patient requirements (e.g., varying patient needs for detailed instructions) or physician responsiveness (i.e., physicians' ability to ascertain and respond to patient needs). Some patients may need providers to give thorough instructions about a new health regimen, and others may need less instruction. If physicians respond to patients' needs in an exact way (giving more instruction to some patients and less instruction to ...

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