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Association of Patients’ Past Misdiagnosis Experiences with Trust in Their Current Physician Among Japanese Adults



Previous qualitative research has described that previous misdiagnoses may reduce patient and their families’ trust in healthcare.


To quantify the associations between patients or family members’ misdiagnosis experiences and trust in their physician.


Cross-sectional study.


Adult Japanese people with non-communicable diseases (cancer, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and connective tissue disease), recruited using a web-based panel survey.

Main Measures

Surveys assessed the patient and the patient’s family’s experience with misdiagnosis. Trust in the respondent’s current physician was measured using the Japanese version of the 11-item Trust in Physician Scale.

Key Results

Among 661 patients (response rate 30.1%), 23.2% had a personal history of misdiagnosis and 20.4% had a family history of misdiagnosis. In a multivariable-adjusted general linear model, patients or a family members’ misdiagnosis experiences were associated with lower confidence in their current physician (mean difference −4.3, 95%CI −8.1 to −0.49 and −3.2, 95%CI −6.3 to −0.05, respectively). The impact of having a personal and a family member’s experience of misdiagnosis on trust was additive, with no evidence of interaction (P for interaction = 0.494).


The patient’s or family members’ misdiagnosis experiences reduced trust in the patient’s current physicians. Interventions specifically targeting misdiagnosed patients are needed to restore trust.

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The abbreviated name of the study, “the TRUMP 2-Net (the Trust Measurement for Physicians and Patients - the Net survey),” was not derived from a specific individual; however, it was determined to suggest a trusted physician, through consideration of the fact that the word “trump” has an ancient meaning of “a dependable and exemplary person.”


This study was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI (Grant Number: JP 19KT0021). The funders had no role in the study design, analysis, or interpretation of the data; writing of the manuscript; or the decision to submit it for publication.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Noriaki Kurita MD, PhD, FACP.

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Suzuki, R., Yajima, N., Sakurai, K. et al. Association of Patients’ Past Misdiagnosis Experiences with Trust in Their Current Physician Among Japanese Adults. J GEN INTERN MED (2021).

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  • misdiagnosis
  • patient trust
  • physician
  • family member
  • non-communicable disease