Factors related to the expression of emotions by early-stage breast cancer patients.

Research paper by Lidia L Del Piccolo, Maria Angela MA Mazzi, Andrea A Mascanzoni, Miriam M Lonardi, Mariangela M De Felice, Olivia Purnima OP Danzi, Chiara C Buizza, Alberto A Ghilardi, Alessandro A Bottacini, Claudia C Goss

Indexed on: 08 Jul '19Published on: 11 Apr '19Published in: Patient Education and Counseling


(1) To report the number and type of emotional expressions (cues/concerns) raised by breast cancer patients; (2) to identify the influence of setting, patient characteristics, and doctor-patient interaction on emotional expression. 308 Italian-speaking female patients were recruited at their first breast cancer consultation. The visits were audio-recorded and analysed for number and type of emotional expressions (VR-CoDES). Oncologists' interaction skills were rated by the VR-COPE. Socio-demographic, clinical and personality variables were gathered before the consultation. Clinical variables and oncologists' evaluations of the patient were collected after. Breast cancer patients raised emotional issues mainly as cues. The setting (centre where the consultations took place), the oncologist's attribution of anxiety, regardless of anxiety test screening (STAI-X1) score before the consultation, and the oncologist's ability to pick up on patient's worries, handle emotional needs or understand psychosocial condition were all positively related with the number of emotional expressions. More tightly structured consultations had fewer emotional expressions. Both contextual and interactional aspects have an impact on patient emotional expressions. Oncologists need to be trained to manage both the content and the process of medical consultation. Work organization of the consultation setting needs to be taken into account. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.