Title

Patient attitudes towards physician nonverbal behaviors during consultancy: result from a developing country

Document Type

Article

Department

Family Medicine; Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Background. Nonverbal behaviors have a significant impact on patients during consultations. This study was undertaken to find out the attitudes and preferences of the patients regarding nonverbal communication during consultations with physicians, in a tertiary care hospital. Methods. A questionnaire based cross-sectional study was carried out at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, during the months of January to March 2012. All patients (>18 years of age) coming for consultancy in the family medicine clinics were approached; out of 133, 120 agreed to participate. The subjects were asked questions regarding physician’s comforting touch and eye contact and their responses were noted. The data were analyzed using SPSS and chi-square test was used to identify corelations. Results. Overall, 120 patients were enrolled. About 58.3% were men and 41.7% were women with a mean age of 34.9 ± 10.9 years. 95.8% were Muslims and 57.6% had more than 12 years of education. Among females 74% wanted supportive touch from doctors, used to comfort the patient (45%) or to show respect (27.5%) or as healing (30%). 86.1% of the respondents believe that establishing eye contact with the patient shows that the doctor is attentive towards his/her patient. The eye contact should be brief but regular (54.1%) and prolonged staring (36.7%) makes them uncomfortable.Conclusion. Nonverbal communication helps to strengthen the doctor-patient relation as patients do appreciate positive touch and eye contact from their physicians.

Publication

ISRN Family Medicine