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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 137492, 10 pages
Research Article

Age-Related Differences in Doctor-Patient Interaction and Patient Satisfaction

Department of Sociology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA

Received 31 May 2011; Revised 22 July 2011; Accepted 10 August 2011

Academic Editor: Virginia Wadley

Copyright © 2011 B. Mitchell Peck. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Relatively little is known about patient characteristics associated with doctor-patient interaction style and satisfaction with the medical visit. Objective. The primary study objectives are to assess: whether doctors interact in a more or less patient-centered style with elderly patients and whether patient age moderates the relationship between interaction style and satisfaction, that is, whether elderly patients are more or less satisfied with patient-centered medical encounters. Methods. We collected pre- and post-visit questionnaire data from 177 patients at a large family medicine clinic. We audiotaped the encounters between doctors and patients. Patient-centered interaction style was measured from coding from the audiotapes of the doctor-patient interactions. Patient satisfaction was measured using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire. Results. We found physicians were more likely to have patient-centered encounters with patients over age 65. We also found patient age moderated the association between interaction style and patient satisfaction: older patients were more satisfied with patient-centered encounters. Conclusion. Patient age is associated with style of interaction, which is, in turn, associated with patient satisfaction. Understanding the factors and processes by which doctors and patients interact has the potential to improve many facets of health care delivery.