NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED424785
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Jan-31
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Doctor-Patient Communication.
Simmons, Margaret
This study analyzed doctor-patient communication from a sociolinguistic perspective, focusing on two issues: (1) why patients are not more effective in asserting themselves in talking with doctors, and (2) why doctors don't talk more like normal people (i.e., patients). Research on communication in health care contexts is reviewed, looking at such aspects as terminology, register, verbal interaction formats, turn-taking, the structure and timing of the doctor's questions, solidarity and status, language and group membership, and code-switching. It is concluded that the factors limiting patients' ability to assert themselves are more linguistic than social, and are related to lack of medical vocabulary, technical grammatical patterns, and the structure of doctors' questions. Factors influencing doctor's language use are related to language as an indicator of group membership, and the subsequent social implications of choosing to speak more like a patient or more like a doctor. Turn-taking patterns were found to be a central sociolinguistic element, restricting patients' opportunities for gaining a turn and imposing limitations on speaking during the doctors' questioning. Implications for practice are discussed briefly. Contains 8 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A