Non-verbal communication in meetings of psychiatrists and patients with schizophrenia.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
OBJECTIVE: Recent evidence found that patients with schizophrenia display non-verbal behaviour designed to avoid social engagement during the opening moments of their meetings with psychiatrists. This study aimed to replicate, and build on, this finding, assessing the non-verbal behaviour of patients and psychiatrists during meetings, exploring changes over time and its association with patients' symptoms and the quality of the therapeutic relationship. METHOD: 40-videotaped routine out-patient consultations, involving patients with schizophrenia, were analysed. Non-verbal behaviour of patients and psychiatrists was assessed during three fixed, 2-min intervals using a modified Ethological Coding System for Interviews. Symptoms, satisfaction with communication and the quality of the therapeutic relationship were also measured. RESULTS: Over time, patients' non-verbal behaviour remained stable, whilst psychiatrists' flight behaviour decreased. Patients formed two groups based on their non-verbal profiles, one group (n = 25) displaying pro-social behaviour, inviting interaction and a second (n = 15) displaying flight behaviour, avoiding interaction. Psychiatrists interacting with pro-social patients displayed more pro-social behaviours (P < 0.001). Patients' pro-social profile was associated reduced symptom severity (P < 0.05), greater satisfaction with communication (P < 0.001) and positive therapeutic relationships (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Patients' non-verbal behaviour during routine psychiatric consultations remains unchanged, and is linked to both their psychiatrist's non-verbal behaviour and the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Vol. 131, Iss. 3, pp. 197–205, March 2015
Place of publication