Patients and physicians in established relationships (261 patients and their 44 physicians) were asked after a medical visit how much they liked each other and how much they felt liked, along with questions concerning patient health, physician and patient satisfaction, and the patient's affective state. Patients were re-contacted 1 year later and asked about their satisfaction with the same physician and whether they had considered changing physicians during the year. Patients' and physicians' ratings indicated mutuality of liking, as well as accuracy of estimating the other's liking for the self. The physician's liking for the patient was positively associated with the following variables: better patient health, more positive patient affective state after the visit, more favorable patient ratings of the physician's behavior, greater patient satisfaction with the visit, and greater physician satisfaction with the visit. The patient's liking for the physician was positively associated with better self-reported health, a more positive affective state after the visit, more favorable ratings of the physician's behavior, and greater visit satisfaction. Both the physician's liking for the patient and the patient's liking for the physician positively predicted the patient's satisfaction 1 year later and were associated with a lower likelihood that the patient considered changing physicians during the year. Female physicians reported liking their patients more than male physicians did, and patients' ratings of how much they felt liked corroborated this difference. Patients also reported liking female physicians more than male physicians. A number of these results remained significant even after controlling for the patient's overall satisfaction with the medical visit.
- Physician-patient communication
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