Emotion language in primary care encounters: Reliability and validity of an emotion word count coding system

Cleveland G. Shields, Ronald M. Epstein, Peter Franks, Kevin Fiscella, Paul Duberstein, Susan H. McDaniel, Sean Meldrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: To develop a reliable and valid computer coded measure to assess emotional expression from transcripts of physician-patient interactions. Methods: Physician encounters with two standardized patients (SPs) were audiotaped. Fifty patients from each physician (n = 100 primary care physicians) completed surveys that assessed patients' perceptions of their relationships with physicians. Audio-recordings of 193 patient-physician encounters were transcribed and computer-coded to derive a percent emotion words, and research assistants completed the Measure of Patient-Centered Communication (MPCC). Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, regression analyses revealed physicians' use of emotion words and the MPCC contribute independently to patients' and SPs' perceptions of their relationship with physicians. Conclusions: The computerized coding of emotion words shows promise as a reliable, valid, and simple method to code transcript data of physician-patient interactions. This method may be expanded to examine other aspects of physician language and does not require coder training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Emotion
  • Measurement
  • Patient-centered care
  • Physician-patient relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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