Doctor Communication Style and Patient Outcomes: Gender and Age as Moderators


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Graham Bradley, School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University at Gold Coast Campus, PMB 50 Gold Coast Mail Centre, Queensland 9726, Australia.


Past research has demonstrated that physicians' communication styles influence patient satisfaction, loyalty, recall of medical advice, and adherence to this advice. However, the research has failed to identify coherent interactional styles that produce favorable outcomes along all dimensions. The present study used a videotape analogue method to compare the efficacy of two communication styles that vary in terms of the power relations between the parties. Community members adopted the role of the patient and rated a male or female “doctor” using either an authoritative or a consultative communication style. Results indicate that the consultative style yielded superior satisfaction ratings, but not greater recall or adherence. The effects for style were moderated by significant interactions with physician gender and patient age.