Influence of weight stigma on doctor-patient communication and relationship

Gómez Ballester, Virgínia
Background: Doctor-patient communication is believed to be the most fundamental medical skill as well as it is the basis for doctor-patient relationship. Patient-centred interview, which is a type of interview that includes psychological and social components apart from biological ones, has been related to many positive health outcomes as well as to increased patient satisfaction. Nonetheless, both communication manners and relationship, have also been proved to be influenced by many factors amongst which we find weight stigma. Weight-based stigma, which is defined as the social devaluation and denigration of individuals because of their excess body weight, has been demonstrated to be particularly strong and pervasive, especially in health care sphere. Regarding health care, weight stigma is widely spread and perpetuated through institutional health policies as well as directly by health care providers. They do so by reinforcing the non-scientific, societal beliefs of the individual responsibility on being fat. Even more concerning is the fact that weight stigma has been consistently documented to be related to increased morbi-mortality amongst those who suffer it. Therefore, in order to mitigate the harmful consequences of weight stigmatization, the existence of a consistent theoretical framework to guide intervention development, measurement, research and policies is critical. Objective: The main objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between patient’s BMI and the quality of doctor-patient communication as well as the quality of doctor-patient relationship perceived by the patient and the correlation between them. Study design: A cross-sectional observational and multi-centric study conducted between November 2020 and April 2022 in all the Centres d’Atenció Primària (CAPs) of Girona and Salt. Participants: The study will be formed by 14 physicians, who will be selected following a consecutive non-probabilistic model, as well as a minimum of 85 patients between 18 and 60 years old who attend these CAPs during the period of study ​
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