Perceptions of health care communication: Examining the role of patients' psychological distress

Jiali Ye, Ruth Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to gain a better understanding of the relationship between patients' serious psychological distress (SPD) and their perception of interactions with health care providers and their ratings of the health care quality. Methods: We analyzed data from 6286 adult respondents to the 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey. We conducted cross-tabulations to compare sociodemographic characteristics between those with SPD and those without SPD. Using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals from logistic regression models, we assessed the association between psychological status and indicators of perceived health care communication and the overall health care quality after controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results: Patients with SPD were less likely to report that their provider "always" paid attention to their feelings and emotions, "always" ensured their understanding of the needed care, and "always" assisted them dealing with uncertain feelings. These distressed patients were also less satisfied with the overall health care quality. Conclusions: Patients' psychological distress is negatively associated with their perceived quality of communication with health providers. Further knowledge on the health care need of patients with SPD would be important in improving health service delivery and optimizing the psychological care of medical patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1242
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Health care
  • Patient-physician relationship
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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