Verbal Aggressiveness Among Physicians and Trainees

Jenny Lynn Lazarus, Motahar Hosseini, Farin Kamangar, David H. Levien, Pamela A. Rowland, Gopal C. Kowdley, Steven C. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To better understand verbal aggressiveness among physicians and trainees, including specialty-specific differences. Design and Participants: The Infante Verbal Aggressiveness Scale (IVAS) was administered as part of a survey to 48 medical students, 24 residents, and 257 attending physicians. The 72 trainees received the IVAS and demographic questions, whereas the attending physicians received additional questions regarding type of practice, career satisfaction, litigation, and personality type. Results: The IVAS scores showed high reliability (Cronbach . α = 0.83). Among all trainees, 56% were female with mean age 28 years, whereas among attending physicians, 63% were male with mean age 50 years. Average scores of trainees were higher than attending physicians with corresponding averages of 1.88 and 1.68, respectively. Among trainees, higher IVAS scores were significantly associated with male sex, non-US birthplace, choice of surgery, and a history of bullying. Among attending physicians, higher IVAS scores were significantly associated with male sex, younger age, self-reported low-quality of patient-physician relationships, and low enjoyment talking to patients. General surgery and general internal medicine physicians were significantly associated with higher IVAS scores than other specialties. General practitioners (surgeons and medical physicians) had higher IVAS scores than the specialists in their corresponding fields. No significant correlation was found between IVAS scores and threats of legal action against attending physicians, or most personality traits. Additional findings regarding bullying in medical school, physician-patient interactions, and having a method to deal with inappropriate behavior at work were observed. Conclusions: Individuals choosing general specialties display more aggressive verbal communication styles, general surgeons displaying the highest. The IVAS scoring system may identify subgroups of physicians with overly aggressive (problematic) communication skills and may provide a backdrop for educating physician communicators. The relationship between verbal aggressiveness and efficacy of clinical communication merits inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2016

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Core competencies
  • Infante score
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Specialty
  • Surgeon
  • Verbal aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Verbal Aggressiveness Among Physicians and Trainees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Lazarus, J. L., Hosseini, M., Kamangar, F., Levien, D. H., Rowland, P. A., Kowdley, G. C., & Cunningham, S. C. (Accepted/In press). Verbal Aggressiveness Among Physicians and Trainees. Journal of Surgical Education. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsurg.2016.03.005