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Communication Style Affects Physiological Response in Simulated Cancer Risk Reduction Interactions


  • Acknowledgment of funding: ACS; MRSG-04-208-01-CPPB; PI-Ellington.

  • No financial disclosures

Maija Reblin, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City , UT 84112-5880, USA. E-mail:


Provider communication styles in health encounters have links to patient health outcomes. The Social Cognitive Processing Model (SCPM) is a framework to understand how communication facilitating processing may produce different outcomes than communication directing patient behavior. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the linkages between communication behaviors and patient outcomes. Participants engaged in simulated health care interviews with either a facilitative or directive provider. Heart rate (HR), skin conductance level (SCL), communication, and participant self-report measures were analyzed. Compared with those communicating with directive providers, participants communicating with facilitative providers were more satisfied and had lower HR and SCL, indicating lowered stress response. Consistent with SCPM, findings have implications for improved processing, which may impact patient outcomes.