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J Health Commun. 2006;11(1):93-108.

Understanding interpersonal communication processes across health contexts: advances in the last decade and challenges for the next decade.

Author information

  • Communication Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 01810, USA. dugganas@bcc.edu


Interpersonal communication processes are central to the provider-patient interaction and in relationships with someone who is ill or needs care. The last decade of research has documented the ways communication processes predict better outcomes in the provider-patient interaction and key constructs for consideration in close relationships in which a health issue in some way defines the relationship. The current article highlights findings from the previous decade and the ways previous findings serve as a theoretical and methodological foundation for more sophisticated analysis of interpersonal communication processes in health contexts. A relational perspective serves as a link between the provider-patient relationship and close relationships with someone with a health issue. Implications for provider-patient contexts, medical education, and close relationships highlight future directions for theory building, health literacy, health outcomes, family communication, developmental issues, and a life span perspective.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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