Relationships between Physicians' Communication Skills, the Psychological Symptoms of Cancer Patients, and their Satisfaction with the Treatment

Physicians’ communication skills and satisfaction of cancer patients

Physician-patient communication Patient satisfaction Communication skills Psycho-oncology Anxiety Stress

Authors

  • Hadi Farhadi Assistant professor, Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Isfahan, Iran , Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Alexander Wuensch Senior Researcher, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical Center–University of Freiburg, School of Medicine, Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany, Germany
  • Seyedeh Zeinab Mousavi
    Znbmsv@gmail.com
    MSc of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Isfahan, Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Shekoofe Alidadi MSc of Clinical Psychology, School of Humanities, Khomeini Shahr Azad University, Isfahan, Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Carl Eduard Scheidt Professor, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, School of Medicine, Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany, Germany
  • Anna Maria Mueller PhD of Psychology, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, School of Medicine, Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany, Germany
  • Ava Goli Department of Psychology, Grenoble Alps University, Grenoble, France, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Mohammad Reza Sharbafchi Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, and Iranian Cancer Control Center (MACSA), Isfahan, , Iran, Islamic Republic of
January 24, 2024
January 31, 2024

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Background: The communication skills of treating physicians can affect the psychological burden of cancer patients and the prevalence of mental illness among these patients. This study investigated the communication skills of physicians and their relationship to the psychological symptoms of cancer patients and their satisfaction with the treatment they received.

Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in 2019. A total of 160 cancer patients who fulfilled the inclusion criteria and referred to Omid Hospital in Isfahan, Iran, and the Iranian Cancer Control Center (MACSA) took part in the study. Demographic information, including age, sex, marital status, education, and type and stage of the disease, was collected using the Demographic Information Questionnaire. The patients' psychological states and satisfaction were then measured using the Patient's Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS), the Short Assessment of Patient Satisfaction (SAPS), and the Communication Assessment Tool (CAT). Correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression were performed using the SPSS software to analyze data.

Results: There was a significant direct relationship between the two quantitative variables of CAT and SAPS scores (r = 0.752; P < 0.001). There was also a significant relationship between the depression (r = -0.318; P < 0.001) and stress (r = -0.303; P < 0.001) scores and the CAT score. The mean SAPS score in patients undergoing radiotherapy was significantly lower than in the stages of chemotherapy (beta (SE) = -3.14 (1.05); P = 0.003).

Conclusion: It was found that physicians' communication skills play an essential role in patients' satisfaction and are directly correlated. We also showed that the physician communication skills score was inversely related to patients' depression.

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