The influence of “bad news” and “neutral/good news” on patients' perception of physician empathy during oncology consultations

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review



Being met with empathy increases information sharing, treatment coherence, and helps patients to recover faster. However, we do not know how the content of the conversation about disease progression, new treatments, or other issues concerning serious illness affects patients' perceptions of the physician's empathy, and thus, the quality of the conversation. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that patients will rate their physician lower following a “bad news” consultation using the consultation and relational empathy (CARE) measure.

A total of 186 outpatients from the Department of Oncology were recruited for this study. After meeting with a patient, the physician filled out a form, placing the patient in either the “bad news” group, or the “neutral/good news” group along with information about the patient and the consultation. The patient was given the CARE measure after the visit.

The patients who had received bad news rated their physicians a significantly lower score on the CARE measure, even though the effect size was small, than those who had neutral/good news. On average, bad news consultations were 11 min longer.

Physicians need to be aware of the patients' need to be known and understood, in addition to having skills to attend to emotional cues and concerns, since the current study's finding could be a sign either of the content being projected onto the physician or that the physician is focused on the message rather than on the patient.
Antal sidor7
TidskriftCancer Medicine
StatusPublished - 2024

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisation, hälsopolitik och hälsoekonomi
  • Cancer och onkologi


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