Effects of perceived patient attributes on dentist communication behavior

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The current study was designed to assess the relationship between dentists' communication behavior and their perception of patient attributes such as likeability, manageability, and prognosis. Six AEGD residents were videotaped, and their verbal and nonverbal communication behavior was analyzed in the manner described. Each resident was administered a 20-item questionnaire to determine his/her perception of patient attributes. For overall dentist nonverbal behavior, perception of the patient and the amount of recognized interruptions that the dentist allowed were significantly correlated (r = 0.28, p < 0.05). When the three dentist perception subcategories-Likeability, Manageability, and Prognosis-were analyzed, verbal and nonverbal communication leads were significantly correlated with the dentists' perceptions of patient attributes in each. The hypothesis of a relationship between patient communication behavior and the dentists' perceptions of patient attributes was supported. The results suggest that dentists alter their communication behavior depending on their assessment of various patient qualities. Whether training in interviewing techniques and communication behavior would have an effect on this process is unknown and should be addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Behavioral sciences
  • Dentist-patient relations
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Patient characteristics
  • Patient interviews
  • Verbal behavior
  • Videotape recording


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