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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 May 14

J Health Commun


How Chronic Pain Patients’ and Physicians’ Communication Influences Patients’ Uncertainty: A Pre- and Post-Consultation Study.


Thompson CM, Pulido MD, Gangidi S, Arnold P


Chronic pain is a health problem that is difficult to diagnose, treat, and manage, partly owing to uncertainty surrounding ambiguous causes, few treatment options, and frequent misunderstandings in clinical encounters. Pairing uncertainty management theory with medical communication competence, we predicted that both physicians and patients are influential to patients’ uncertainty appraisals and uncertainty management. We collected pre- and post-consultation data from 200 patients with chronic neck and spine/back pain and their physicians. Patients’ reports of their physician’s communication were a consistent predictor of their post-consultation uncertainty outcomes. Physicians’ reports of both their own and patients’ communication competence were associated with patients’ positive uncertainty appraisals. Physicians’ reports of patients’ communication competence were also associated with reductions in patients’ uncertainty. Findings illustrate how both interactants’ perceptions of communication competence-how they view their own (for physicians) and the other’s-are associated with patients’ post-consultation outcomes.