The informative process in private medical consultations: A preliminary investigation

Paul Boreham, Diane Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The communication of information has assumed an increasingly important role in general practitioner consultations. This paper reports on a preliminary investigation of the informative elements of doctor-patient interaction. The research methods employed in this study provided for an examination of both patients' views and expectations about the provision of information concerning their illnesses as well as their behaviour toward seeking such information during their actual consultation. The major consideration which directed this research concerned the means by which information was gained and the influence of both patient and doctor on the communicative process. In particular, the study was concerned with the extent to which information was provided in response to active requests from patients or whether it was largely determined by what the doctor chose to proffer. Our interview data indicated that patients exhibited a surprising lack of knowledge concerning their illnesses even though they attached considerable importance to gaining such information. Moreover, our observations of the doctor-patient interviews revealed that patients-largely because of their own passivity-gained little additional information during the course of their consultation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine. Part A Medical Psychology and Medical
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1978
Externally publishedYes


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