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Urology. 2004 Aug;64(2):329-34.

Confidence in the ability to communicate with physicians among low-income patients with prostate cancer.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095-6900, USA.



To describe the confidence of low-income patients with prostate cancer in interacting with physicians. Men with prostate cancer need to communicate easily with their physicians when facing treatment decisions and symptom management; however, little is known about whether low-income men are confident in these interactions.


We used validated instruments to measure self-efficacy in patient-physician interactions, emotional well-being, symptom distress, satisfaction with care, and health-related quality of life among low-income men receiving prostate cancer treatment through a statewide public assistance program. We abstracted clinical variables from medical records. We dichotomized self-efficacy scores empirically on the basis of the sample distribution and conducted univariate and multivariate analyses.


The self-efficacy scores were skewed toward the high scores, with 77% in the high range. Those (23%) with low self-efficacy were more likely to have poor emotional well-being, symptom distress, role limitations--emotional, low social function, and poor urinary, sexual, and bowel outcomes. In multivariate analysis, low-income men were more likely to have low self-efficacy if they were less satisfied with their care, did not have confidence in their provider, or had more symptom distress.


Among low-income patients with prostate cancer, low self-efficacy for interacting with physicians was best predicted by diminished overall satisfaction with care, low confidence in providers, and worse symptom distress. Men with low self-efficacy fared worse over a range of psychosocial outcomes and both general and disease-specific health-related quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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