The Effects of Communication Skills Training on Pediatricians' and Parents' Communication During "Sick Child" Visits

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Adult, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Child, Child, Preschool, Communication, Female, Focus Groups, Humans, Male, Pediatrics, Professional Competence, Professional-Family Relations, Teaching, United States

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This article reports the development and evaluation of a physician–parent communication skills training program designed to improve communication regarding antibiotic prescribing for children. Four pediatricians and 81 parents participated in the study, which involved audiotaping “sick child” office visits and then coding transcripts for evidence of program influence on information seeking, giving, and verifying, as well as relational communication. Parents who received training were more likely to verify information,t(79) = 1.82, p = .04, and more likely to express concerns, t(79) = 1.79, p = .04, than were parents who did not receive training; there was a nonsignificant trend for trained parents to be more likely to give information, t(79) = 1.7, p = .051. In terms of physician behavior, there were nonsignificant trends for physicians to spend more time creating a partnership with parents after training than before training, t(3) = 2.29, p = .053, and to encourage more questions from parents after training than before, t(3) = 2.15, p = .06. In addition, once one outlier parent in the control condition was removed from the analysis, the results showed that physicians spent more time addressing treatment options after training than before, t(3) = 2.9, p = .03. The results of this study are considered promising, with effects shown for various important elements of physician–parent communication. Implications of results and directions for future research are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Health Communication, v. 21, issue 2, p. 105-114