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September 1983

Exploring Patient Beliefs: Steps to Enhancing Physician-Patient Interaction

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(9):1773-1775. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350090151025

• Most physicians are skilled at collecting medical Information important for clinical diagnosis. However, they obtain less information about the attitudes and beliefs patients have about their illnesses. Patients' beliefs determine their responses to an illness and the strategies they use for coping with it. Without knowing those beliefs, physicians may find themselves and their patients frustrated by misunderstandings and differing agenda. Beliefs can be explored fairly simply by careful listening and a few directed questions. Once recognized, they can be modified or incorporated into joint approaches to treatment. Learning patients' beliefs is an important early step in developing the physician-patient relationship.

(Arch Intern Med 1983;143:1773-1775)

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