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Title: The impact of delivery style on doctors' experience of stress during simulated bad news consultations
Contributor(s): Shaw, Joanne (author); Brown, Rhonda  (author); Dunn, Stewart (author)
Publication Date: 2015-10
Early Online Version: 2015-08-21
DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.023
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between doctors' bad news delivery style and their experience of physiological stress during simulated bad news consultations.

Methods: 31 doctors participated in two simulated breaking bad news (BBN) consultations. Delivery style was categorized as either blunt, forecasting or stalling (i.e. avoidant), based on the time to deliver the bad news and qualitative analysis of the interaction content and doctor's language style. Doctors' heart rate (HR) and skin conductance (SC) were recorded in consecutive 30 s epochs.

Results: Doctors experienced a significant decrease in HR (F(1,36) = 44.9, p < .0001) and SC (F(1,48) = 5.6, p <.001) between the pre- and post-news delivery phases of the consultation. Between-group comparisons for the three delivery styles did not identify any significant differences in HR (F(2,36) = 2.2, p > .05) or SC (F(2,48) = .66, p > .05).

Conclusion and practice implications: Doctors experience heightened stress in the pre-news delivery phase of breaking bad news interactions. Delaying the delivery of bad news exposes doctors to a longer period of increased stress.This suggests that medical students and doctors should be taught to deliver bad news without delay, to help mitigate their response to this stressful encounter.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Patient Education and Counseling, 98(10), p. 1255-1259
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Place of Publication: Ireland
ISSN: 1873-5134
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520304 Health psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 160104 Professional development and adult education
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

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