The value of physicians' affect-oriented communication for patients' recall of information

Leonie N C Visser, Marieke S Tollenaar, Hanneke C J M de Haes, Ellen M A Smets

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to discuss experimental research investigating the effect of physicians' affect-oriented communication on patients' recall of information provided during medical consultations, with a special focus on the mediating role of emotional stress in that relation.

METHODS & RESULTS: A search of experimental research literature was conducted, resulting in six research articles experimentally investigating the relations of interest, all using a video-vignettes design. A summary of results is provided and discussed.

CONCLUSIONS: The research reviewed in this paper provides evidence for the causal and mostly positive influence of several forms of affect-oriented communication on patients' recall of medical information. Results indicate that reducing emotional stress may not be the underlying mechanism through which physicians' communication influences patients' recall.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The obtained insights will help educators to teach evidence-based medical communication skills and to scientifically validate the importance of these skills for patients' recall of information. Advancing physicians' communication skills with evidence-based training will contribute to the professionalism that is the hallmark of good quality of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2116-2120
Number of pages5
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this