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Does physician communication style impact patient report of decision quality for breast cancer treatment?

Martinez KA, Resnicow K, Williams GC, Silva M, Abrahamse P, Shumway DA, Wallner LP, Katz SJ, Hawley ST. Does physician communication style impact patient report of decision quality for breast cancer treatment? Patient education and counseling. 2016 Dec 1; 99(12):1947-1954.

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OBJECTIVE: Provider communication that supports patient autonomy has been associated with numerous positive patient outcomes. However, to date, no research has examined the relationship between perceived provider communication style and patient-assessed decision quality in breast cancer. METHODS: Using a population-based sample of women with localized breast cancer, we assessed patient perceptions of autonomy-supportive communication from their surgeons and medical oncologists, as well as patient-reported decision quality. We used multivariable linear regression to examine the association between autonomy-supportive communication and subjective decision quality for surgery and chemotherapy decisions, controlling for sociodemographic and clinical factors, as well as patient-reported communication preference (non-directive or directive). RESULTS: Among the 1690 women included in the overall sample, patient-reported decision quality scores were positively associated with higher levels of perceived autonomy-supportive communication from surgeons (ß = 0.30; p < 0.001) and medical oncologists (ß = 0.26; p < 0.001). Patient communication style preference moderated the association between physician communication style received and perceived decision quality. CONCLUSION: Autonomy-supportive communication by physicians was associated with higher subjective decision quality among women with localized breast cancer. These results support future efforts to design interventions that enhance autonomy-supportive communication. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Autonomy-supportive communication by cancer doctors can improve patients'' perceived decision quality.

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