Older adults' mental health function and patient-centered care: Does the presence of a family companion help or hinder communication?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Late-life mental health disorders are prevalent, costly, and commonly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Objective: To investigate whether family companion presence in routine primary care visits helps or hinders patient-centered processes among older adults with poor mental health function. DESIGN AND Participants: Observational study of accompanied (n∈=∈80) and unaccompanied (n∈=∈310) primary care patients ages 65 and older. Main Measures: Audio-taped medical visit communication, coded with the Roter Interactional Analysis System, and three process Measures: visit duration (in minutes), patient/companion verbal activity, and a ratio of patient-centered communication, adjusted for patient age, gender, race, and physical function. Participants were stratified by SF-36 mental health subscale (MCS) using two approaches (1) standardized population midpoint to delineate "good" (50+) and "poor" health (<50) and (2) clinically derived cut-points (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-668
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012



  • mental health
  • patient-provider communication
  • primary care
  • RIAS
  • visit companions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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