Studying the effects of empathic communication on the occurrence of cognitive side effects in analogue breast cancer patients.
In medical context nocebo effects can occur when potential side effects of medication are brought to attention. One potential manner to minimize nocebo effects is by use of empathic communication. This study investigated the relationship between empathic communication and potential nocebo effects by letting 60 women watch either an empathic or a non-empathic video consultation. After the video, participants were asked how they felt about the physician and the patient. They filled in a questionnaire measuring their cognitive problems and performance, their health anxiety, their general complaints and their state of mind. Nocebo effects did occur during the experiment, as participants reported more cognitive problems after than before the video. However, empathic communication did not appear to reduce anxiety levels or the occurrence of nocebo effects. Health anxiety did not seem to be a moderator in this process. Mor! e researc h is needed to investigate whether empathic communication can help reduce nocebo effects.
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