What do patients really want? Redefining a behavioral science curriculum for family physicians

B. Frowick, J. C. Shank, W. J. Doherty, T. A. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study replicates the design reported by Schwenk et al and addresses a key methodologic issue in their paper. The original questionnaire by Schwenk et al was administered to one half of the sample of patients, while the other half completed a reworded questionnaire asking what they 'want' in the area of psychosocial help, as opposed to what they thind their family physician 'would' do (the original wording). The hypothesis was that expectations for physician involvement will be higher if patients are asked what they want as opposed to what they expect. Patients were asked to complete a four-page questionnaire, alternating the questions described by Schwenk et al with the reworded questionnaire, in which they were required to rank the level of involvement requested from their physician regarding 45 psychosocial problems (level 1 = no involvement, level 4 = major involvement). Results using the originally worded questionnaire closely paralleled findings of Schwenk et al, whereas asking people what they 'wanted' showed statistically significant differences in 18 of the 45 items. The paper concludes with discussion of patient preferences vs patient expectations, with implications for the behavioral science curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


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