Communicative styles and adaptations in physician-parent consultations. Academic Article uri icon


  • This investigation compares the degree to which personal and interactive factors respectively account for variation in patterns of physician-parent communicative exchange. The analysis of audiorecordings of 115 pediatric consultations revealed several notable findings: (a) individual physicians differed in the degree to which each provided information, issued directives, exhibited positive socioemotional behavior, and engaged in partnership-building, (b) parents who asked more questions and expressed more negative affect (e.g. concerns, frustrations) received more information and directives from physicians, (c) parents who were more affectively expressive elicited a greater number of positive socioemotional comments from doctors, and (d) parents' question-asking and opinion-giving were related to the parents' level of education and the degree to which physicians' engaged in partnership-building. The results of this study suggest that, as are other forms of interpersonal communication, medical consultations are processes of personal and mutual influence that unfold according to the characteristics of the individuals and to interactive processes related to how interactants adapt their communication to one another.

published proceedings

  • Soc Sci Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Street, R. L.

citation count

  • 160

complete list of authors

  • Street, RL

publication date

  • May 1992