Nonverbal Interpersonal Interactions in Clinical Encounters and Patient Perceptions of Empathy | Journal of Participatory Medicine

The authors show that eye contact and social touch are significantly related to patient perceptions of clinician empathy.


 ..The relationship between nonverbal behaviors and patient perceptions of clinicians has been underexplored. The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between nonverbal communication behaviors (eye contact and social touch) to patient assessments of clinician (empathy, connectedness, and liking). Methods: Hypotheses were tested including clinician and patient nonverbal behaviors (eye contact, social touch) were coded temporally in 110 videotaped clinical encounters. Patient participants completed questionnaires to measure their perception of clinician empathy, connectedness with clinician, and how much they liked their clinician. Results: Length of visit and eye contact between clinician and patient were positively related to the patient’s assessment of the clinician’s empathy…

Enid Montague,

 Ping-yu Chen, 

Jie Xu, 

Betty Chewning & 

Bruce Barrett