After 30 Years, Problems and Prospects in the Study of Doctor–Patient Interaction

Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


In the 1970s, two major studies established the systematic study of doctor–patient interaction as a viable research domain. The first, conducted by Korsch and Negrete (1972) at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles was based on observations of 800 pediatric acute care visits and used a modifield version of Bales’ (1950) Interaction Process Analysis to code the data. The results were striking. Nearly a fifth of the parents left the clinic without a clear statement of what was wrong with their child, and nearly half were left wondering what had caused their child’s illness. A quarter of the parents reported that they had not mentioned their greatest concern because of lack of opportunity or encouragement. The study uncovered a strong relationship between these and other communication failures and nonadherence with medical recommendations, showing that 56% of parents who felt that the physicians had not met their expectations were “grossly noncompliant.”


Medical Visit Patient Relationship Patient Interaction Medical Encounter Medical Authority 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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