Provider Information Provision and Breast Cancer Patient Well-Being

Published In

Health Communication

Document Type


Publication Date



Research continues to delineate and clarify specific communication behaviors associated with improved patient outcomes. In the context of breast cancer surgery, this exploratory study examined the effect of breast surgeon information provision on the immediate post-visit outcomes of patients’ anxious preoccupation, intention to adhere to treatment recommendations, and treatment plan satisfaction. Participants included 51 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients receiving care from one breast surgeon at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the northeastern United States. Participants completed pre- and post-visit questionnaires. Medical interactions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via multidimensional analysis, a method of linguistic analysis that uses exploratory factor analysis to identify how specific types of words are patterned and work to accomplish communicative goals (Biber, 1988). The multidimensional analysis identified constellations of language used by providers and patients. Although five linguistic dimensions emerged, one dimension, impersonal information provision, is of unique interest in understanding how providers communicate with patients. Impersonal information provision encompasses the ways in which the provider, using an impersonal tone, discussed the logistics, details, and implications of treatment options. Increased impersonal information provision was associated with patients’ decreased anxious preoccupation (β = –.22, t = −2.82, p = .007), increased treatment plan satisfaction (β = .36, t = 2.54, p = .012), and increased intention to adhere to treatment recommendations (β = .34, t = 2.45, p = .018). Findings suggest that specific provider behavior and types of information provided have unique and important effects on patients’ health outcomes.


© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC



Persistent Identifier