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Affective and Instrumental Components in the Physician-Patient Relationship: An Additional Dimension of Interaction Theory

Zeev Ben-Sira
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), pp. 170-180
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136736
Page Count: 11
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Affective and Instrumental Components in the Physician-Patient Relationship: An Additional Dimension of Interaction Theory
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Abstract

This study examines the empirical support for the assumptions underlying a previously published model of the professional-client interaction by investigating the affective and instrumental components in the physician-patient relationship. The findings stress the significance, for patients' evaluation of the affective quality and efficacy of medical treatment from general practitioners and hospital physicians, of accompanying the medical treatment with emotional support. In line with the approaches indicating the complex relationship between emotional and physiological factors in disease, it is shown that emotional support not only bridges over patient uncertainty regarding the content and outcome of the treatment, but is a crucial element in patients' evaluation of the treatment itself, its significance increasing with the decrease in patients' social class. The study extends the applicability of the earlier model, which was logically confined to the interaction with the G.P. only, to wider medical settings, such as hospitals.

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