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Health Commun. 2012;27(5):498-505. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2011.616632. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Effect of communication style and physician-family relationships on satisfaction with pediatric chronic disease care.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 1100 Delaplaine Court, Madison, WI 53715, USA.


Over 8% of children have a chronic disease and many are unable to adhere to treatment. Satisfaction with chronic disease care can impact adherence. We examine how visit satisfaction is associated with physician communication style and ongoing physician-family relationships. We collected surveys and visit videos for 75 children ages 9-16 years visiting for asthma, diabetes, or sickle cell disease management. Raters assessed physician communication style (friendliness, interest, responsiveness, and dominance) from visit videos. Quality of the ongoing relationship was measured with four survey items (parent-physician relationship, child-physician relationship, comfort asking questions, and trust in the physician), while a single item assessed satisfaction. Correlations and chi square were used to assess association of satisfaction with communication style or quality of the ongoing relationship. Satisfaction was positively associated with physician to parent (p < 0.05) friendliness. Satisfaction was also associated with the quality of the ongoing parent-physician (p < 0.001) and child-physician relationships (p < 0.05), comfort asking questions (p < 0.001), and trust (p < 0.01). This shows that both the communication style and the quality of the ongoing relationship contribute to pediatric chronic disease visit satisfaction.

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