The influence of physicians' communication style on the nocebo response in analogue breast cancer patients, an experimental study using health anxiety as a moderator.
Sixty participants acted as analogue breast cancer patients in an investigation to the nocebo response, communication styles and health anxiety. The results showed that informing patients about the possible cognitive side effects of chemotherapy does actually increase the reported side effects. Earlier research found that a physician’s affective communication style can indirectly improve health. Participants were shown either an videotaped consultation with an affective communication style or an non-affective communication style. It was hypothesized that an affective communication style can reduce the cognitive complaints and diminished cognitive performance inflicted by being informed about the side effects of chemotherapy, also known as the nocebo response. This hypothesis was rejected. Furthermore, it was found that health anxiety did not function as a moderator. The findings indicated that physicians should be careful while discussing the cognitive side effects of chemotherapy, as provided information about cognitive impairments did increase the cognitive complaints.
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