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Behav Sci (Basel). 2017 May 8;7(2). pii: E30. doi: 10.3390/bs7020030.

Physicians' Religious Topic Avoidance during Clinical Interactions.

Author information

1
Department of Communication Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA. mvilla@txstate.edu.
2
Department of Communication, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22207, USA. bmacarth@gmu.edu.
3
Department of Communication Studies, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA. lauren_lee@txstate.edu.
4
Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. christian.ledford@usuhs.edu.
5
Department of Communication, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA. canzonmr@wfu.edu.

Abstract

Religious and spiritual (R/S) conversations at the end-of-life function to help patients and their families find comfort in difficult circumstances. Physicians who feel uncertain about how to discuss topics related to religious beliefs may seek to avoid R/S conversations with their patients. This study utilized a two-group objective structured clinical examination with a standardized patient to explore differences in physicians' use of R/S topic avoidance tactics during a clinical interaction. Results indicated that physicians used more topic avoidance tactics in response to patients' R/S inquiries than patients' R/S disclosures; however, the use of topic avoidance tactics did not eliminate the need to engage in patient-initiated R/S interactions.

KEYWORDS:

clinical interactions; communication; religion

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