Original Paper

Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1-20

First online:

The Provider’s Voice: Patient Satisfaction and the Content-filtered Speech of Nurses and Physicians in Primary Medical Care

  • Kelly B. HaskardAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Texas State University Email author 
  • , Summer L. WilliamsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California
  • , M. Robin DiMatteoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California
  • , John HeritageAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of California
  • , Robert RosenthalAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of California

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Two studies examined vocal affect in medical providers’ and patients’ content-filtered (CF) speech. A digital methodology for content-filtering and a set of reliable global affect rating scales for CF voice were developed. In Study 1, ratings of affect in physicians’ CF voice correlated with patients’ satisfaction, perceptions of choice/control, medication adherence, mental and physical health, and physicians’ satisfaction. In Study 2, ratings of affect in the CF voices of physicians and nurses correlated with their patients’ satisfaction, and the CF voices of nurses and patients reflected their satisfaction. Voice tone ratings of providers and patients were intercorrelated, suggesting reciprocity in their vocal affective communication.


Voice tone Provider-patient communication Content-filtered speech Patient satisfaction