Patients’ Commitment to Their Primary Physician and Why It Matters Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: The patient-physician relationship is the cornerstone of health care service delivery. The objectives of this study were to assess the contribution of relationship commitment along with trust to patient-physician relationships and to evaluate the association of commitment and trust with adherence to medical advice and healthy eating behaviors. METHODS: To test the proposed model, we developed a questionnaire that included both existing scales and a scale constructed specifically for the study; the questions addressed trust, commitment, adherence to physicians' medical recommendations, and healthy eating behavior. The questionnaire was given to adult patients in the waiting rooms of 4 large clinics in central Texas. RESULTS: A total of 1,008 patients returned questionnaires; 869 patients' questionnaires were complete and used in the analysis. A 3-stage least squares analysis that tested a system of 4 equations which included relationship commitment yielded a systemwide R(2) of 0.71 that was 0.09 higher than a system of equations excluding relationship commitment. Trust and commitment were positively associated with adherence (P <.001 and P = .02, respectively). We also found positive relationships between adherence and commitment and between trust and commitment (P <.001 for each). Adherence and commitment were both associated with healthy eating behavior as well (P <.001 for each). CONCLUSIONS: Patients' trust in their physician and commitment to the relationship offer a more complete understanding of the patient-physician relationship. In addition, trust and commitment favorably influence patients' health behaviors.

altmetric score

  • 8.83

author list (cited authors)

  • Berry, L. L., Parish, J. T., Janakiraman, R., Ogburn-Russell, L., Couchman, G. R., Rayburn, W. L., & Grisel, J.

citation count

  • 91

publication date

  • January 2008