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Support Care Cancer. 2016 Apr;24(4):1719-28. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-2973-5. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Cancer patients' respect experiences in relation to perceived communication behaviours from hospital staff: analysis of the 2012-2013 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey.

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Psychology Department, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH14BJ, UK.



Respect experiences are poorly understood despite respect being central to professionalism in health care and patient well-being, and needed for optimal patient care. This study explores which patient-perceived communication behaviours from hospital staff contribute most to cancer patients' respect experiences and account for variation in their experience by socio-demographic and clinical characteristics.


We present a secondary analysis of data from the 2012-2013 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey of 45,191 patients with a primary cancer diagnosis treated in English National Health Service trusts providing adult acute cancer services who provided data on experienced respect and dignity.


Both autonomy-supportive and caring/emotionally sensitive behaviours were associated with reported respect, although the latter showed stronger associations and accounted for most differences in reports of respect between patient groups. Differences in respect were found by gender, race/ethnicity, age, the presence of long-standing conditions, treatment response, time since first treated for cancer (pā€‰<ā€‰.001), employment and type of cancer (pā€‰<ā€‰.05).


The study questions the tendency to conceptualise respect primarily in terms of autonomy-supportive behaviours and shows the relative contribution of autonomy-supportive and caring/emotionally sensitive behaviours in explaining disparities in respect experiences. More attention should be paid to affective communication behaviours from hospital staff to reduce disparities in respect experiences.


Cancer patients; Communication behaviours; Disparities in care experiences; Respect; United Kingdom

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