An evaluation of residency training in interviewing skills and the psychosocial domain of medical practice

Debra L. Roter, Karan A. Cole, David E. Kern, L. Randol Barker, Marsha Grayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Competent use of interviewing skills is important for the care of all patients but is especially critical, and frequently deficient, in meeting the needs of patients experiencing emotional distress. This study presents an evaluation of a curriculum in communication and psychosocial skills taught to first-year medical residents. A randomized experimental design compared trained and untrained residents’ (n=48) performances with a simulated patient presenting with atypical cbest pain and psychosocial distress. Evaluation was based on analysis of videotapes, simulated patient report of residents’ behaviors, and cbart notation. Trained compared with untrained residents asked more open-ended questions and fewer leading questions, summarized main points more frequently, did more psychosocial counseling, and were rated as baving better communication skills by the simulated patient. The use of more focused and psychosocially directed questions, and fewer leading and grab-bag questions, was associated with more accurate diagnoses and management recorded in the medical chart. However, no significant difference was found in the charting practices of trained versus untrained residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990


  • education
  • internal medicine
  • internship and residence
  • interview
  • interviews
  • medical
  • primary health care
  • psychiatry
  • psychological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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