A pilot study of observed physician–parent–child communication and child satisfaction in a gastroenterology clinic

Timothy D. Becker, Henry C. Lin, Victoria A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Child participation in pediatric medical visits is low. In this pilot study, we sought to better understand relationships between observed communication and child-reported perceptions of communication in a clinical setting. Materials and methods: For this cross-sectional observational study, pediatric gastroenterology appointments (n=39) were videotaped and coded to quantify various adult affective (eg, chit-chat, empathy) and facilitative (eg, asking questions, encouraging responses) behaviors toward the child, interference with child participation (eg, interrupting or ignoring child), and child verbal participation. Post-visit surveys assessed child perceptions of having voice in the clinical encounter, ease of understanding, and satisfaction with communication. Results: Parent and provider chit-chat was associated with child-reported ease of understanding. Provider facilitation was positively associated with child participation, but affective communication strategies were not. Physician interference was negatively associated with ease of understanding but positively associated with perception of voice. Conclusion: Facilitative communication may improve outcomes by enhancing child participation and thus exchange of medical information, whereas chit-chat appears to positively impact children’s perceptions of communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1335
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Child participation
  • Child satisfaction
  • Partnership
  • Pediatric patient experience
  • Physician-Patient communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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