Psychophysiological research in EACH

Blogs

The literature shows a consistent relationship between specific communication behaviour of health care providers and a number of positive patient outcomes 1-4, but says little about the pathways linking these types of communication to patient or even provider outcomes 5-7. This special interest group focuses on the missing link by investigating the effect of communication on psycho-physiological processes.

Questions to be addressed include:

What happens within the body in reaction to different communicative interventions?
What is the bodily impact of empathy?
Can we identify individual differences based on bodily responses to communication?

Understanding how and why communication contributes to outcomes is highly needed to establish best practices for prevalent communication issues in health care, e.g. how to break bad news, how to improve patients’ recall of information or how to optimize their adherence to treatment or lifestyle advice. Health care providers can then be trained accordingly. In other words, insight is needed to secure high quality patient care in support of patients’ optimal health.

The inclusion of psychophysiological measures in communication research is a new and exciting development and its high potential is well recognized. Such measures may include measures of electrodermal and cardiovascular responses indicating involvement of the sympathic nervous system and cortisol measures indicating involvement of the HPA-axis. So far, this line of research has resulted in a small but substantial number of international publications (see for example 8- 17). By including real time psychophysiological measures a more precise picture might emerge of the affective and cognitive processes related to particular segments of a patient-provider interaction, like arousal, attention and cognitive effort of the persons involved. Hence, psychophysiological measures provide a unique window on the activation of emotional and cognitive processes evoked during a medical interaction. For example, physiological measures can pick up subtle changes in affect or arousal during the interaction that are not easily detectable by self-report or observation. Furthermore, physiological responses resulting from communicative behaviours provide clues to the differential effectiveness of these behaviours.

To take full advantage of the possibilities of psychophysiological data while at the same time tackling methodological pitfalls, cooperation between researchers in the domain of healthcare communication research , and maybe even experts in the domain of psycho-physiological measurement, is essential 18.

Together, we would like to find answers to a range of questions:

  1. Which theoretical models are relevant for linking provider communication to reduction of arousal in patients and beneficial effects in health outcomes?
  2. Which designs can be used to empirically investigate the link between provider behaviour to patient expressions of cues and concerns and reduction of arousal in patients?
  3. Which measurement issues need to be addressed to validly link indicators of arousal of patients and/or providers (electrodermal, cardiovascular, hormonal) to discrete communicative events in the interaction.
  4. How are psychophysiological parameters linked to the communication style of a provider?
  5. How to analyse and interpret the data obtained such that valid conclusions can be drawn about a possible link between provider communication and reduction of arousal in patients?
  6. What do psycho-physiological measures add to self-report measures?

Aims

  1. Network formation to share information and create a stable knowledge base
  2. To collaboratively organise pre-conference workshops or symposia on this topic
  3. To create a network in which we could write collaborative research proposal to raise funds

Officers

Prof. dr. Arnstein Finset (Chair)
Department of Behavioural Sciences
Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
University of Oslo, Norway
E-mail: arnstein.finset@medisin.uio.no
Prof. dr. E.M.A. Smets
Department of Medical Psychology
Academic Medical Center / University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)205664768
E-mail: e.m.smets@amc.uva.nl
 
Prof. dr. Lidia Del Piccolo
Professor in Clinical Psychology
Department of Neurological,
Biomedical & Movement Sciences
University of Verona, Italy
Telephone +39 (0)45 8124692
E-mail: lidia.delpiccolo@univr.it
Prof.dr. A.M. (Sandra) van Dulmen
Psychologist and Research co-ordinator NIVEL
Professor at the Dept. of Primary and Community Care
Radboud University Medical Center
Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and
Vestfold University College, Drammen, Norway
Telephone: +31(0)302729703
Email: S.vanDulmen@nivel.nl
 
Erik Holt
Department of Behavioural Sciences,
Institute of Basic Medical Sciences
University of Oslo, Norway
Email: erik.holt@medisin.uio.no
Prof. dr. Anssi Peräkylä
Professor of Sociology
Center of Excellence on Intersubjectivity in Interaction
University of Helsinki, Finland
Telephone: +35(0)8919124620
Email: anssi.perakyla@helsinki.fi
Leonie N.C. Visser MSc (contact person)
PhD-student at the Department of Medical Psychology
Academic Medical Center / University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)205668737
E-mail: n.c.visser@amc.uva.nl

 

References

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