Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lacking trust in one's doctor affects health of emotionally vulnerable cancer patients

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
Health Behavior News Service
Summary:
The physical and mental well-being of people with cancer may be affected by how they feel about their relationship with their physician and by differences in attachment styles, finds a new study. Patients who feel anxious and uneasy with their doctor may be impacted the most. "Anxiously attached patients may experience and report more physical and emotional problems when the relationship with their physician is perceived as less trusting," said the lead author.

The physical and mental well-being of people with cancer may be affected by how they feel about their relationship with their physician and by differences in attachment styles (how they rely and depend on others), finds a new study from General Hospital Psychiatry.

Related Articles


Patients who feel anxious and uneasy with their doctor may be impacted the most. "Anxiously attached patients may experience and report more physical and emotional problems when the relationship with their physician is perceived as less trusting," said Chris Hinnen, Ph.D., lead author and clinical psychologist at Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The researchers acknowledge that the issue of trust between patients and their doctors can be complicated, but observe that it's important to understand fears of rejection and abandonment that often exist in anxiously attached patients.

Hinnen and his colleagues analyzed questionnaire responses from 119 participants with breast, cervical, intestinal or prostate cancers at 3, 9 and 15 months after their diagnosis. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed were female and had an average age of 59 years old. Researchers used a shortened version of the Wake Forest Physician Trust Scale and the Revised Experiences in Close Relationships scale to determine 1) participants' trust in the physician most involved in treatment and 2) participants' attachment anxiety or avoidance at the 3 month mark and assessed their distress and physical limitations at three sequential time intervals. Lower levels of trust were associated with more distress at all periods and more physical limitations at three and nine months for anxiously-attached patients.

"In some people, early childhood experiences coupled with constitutional factors have led to an exaggerated desire for closeness and intimacy together with a high fear of rejection and abandonment," Hinnen noted. "Consequently, the feeling of not being able to rely on one's physician may be especially frightening and stressful for anxiously attached patients." People with less attachment anxiety may have better ways of coping with a less trusting physician relationship.

Michelle B. Riba, M.D., professor and associate chair for Integrated Medical and Psychiatric Services at the University of Michigan, noted doctor-patient relationships are very important, especially when the patient is confronted with cancer. "However, this study was not free from bias because it was primarily comprised of women who liked their doctors, and these women were already in a personal relationship which portended an attachment to a relationship with their physician."

Riba also noted the three-month time line when cancer patients in the study were asked about doctor-patient trust levels. "The problem is at three-months patients may be seeing a variety of physicians such as a surgeon, oncologist, medical oncologist or radiologist, not just one doctor," she said.

The study notes that it is important to take into account the fact that some patients don't feel connected to their doctor. These patients may be more at risk for emotional and physical adjustment problems associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Riba added, "As physicians we try to place patients with doctors that match a patient's style, but that doesn't always happen. Instead, patients may move and look for other relationships on their own."

"Since the patient-physician relationship has such an impact on patient well-being," Hinnen said, "especially for those who are most vulnerable, limiting free choice of a [cancer] physician seems foolish."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service. The original article was written by Sharyn Alden. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris Hinnen, Grieteke Pool, Nynke Holwerda, Mirjam Sprangers, Robbert Sanderman, Mariet Hagedoorn. Lower levels of trust in one's physician is associated with more distress over time in more anxiously attached individuals with cancer. General Hospital Psychiatry, 2014; 36 (4): 382 DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2014.03.005

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service. "Lacking trust in one's doctor affects health of emotionally vulnerable cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722164136.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service. (2014, July 22). Lacking trust in one's doctor affects health of emotionally vulnerable cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722164136.htm
Health Behavior News Service. "Lacking trust in one's doctor affects health of emotionally vulnerable cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722164136.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins