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Patient Educ Couns. 2018 Dec;101(12):2209-2218. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Aug 15.

Measuring nonverbal behavior in clinical interactions: A pragmatic guide.

Author information

1
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Bentley University, Waltham, USA. Electronic address: dhartigan@bentley.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, USA; Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.
4
Department of Organizational Behavior, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Understanding nonverbal behavior is key to the research, teaching, and practice of clinical communication. However, the measurement of nonverbal behavior can be complex and time-intensive. There are many decisions to make and factors to consider when coding nonverbal behaviors.

METHODS:

Based on our experience conducting nonverbal behavior research in clinical interactions, we developed practical advice and strategies for coding nonverbal behavior in clinical communication, including a checklist of questions to consider for any nonverbal coding project.

RESULTS:

We provide suggestions for beginning the nonverbal coding process, operationalizing the coding approach, and conducting the coding.

CONCLUSION:

A key to decision-making around nonverbal behavior coding is establishing clear research questions and using these to guide the process.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

The field needs more coding of nonverbal behavior to better describe what happens in clinical interactions, to understand why nonverbal behaviors occur, and to determine the predictors and consequences of nonverbal behaviors in clinical interactions. A larger evidence base can inform better teaching practices and communication interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Coding; Nonverbal behavior; Patient-provider communication

PMID:
30146408
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2018.08.013

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