Does source of patient recruitment affect the impact of communication on trust?

M.A. Hillen, H.C.J.M. de Haes, M.G.E. Verdam, E.M.A. Smets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate how comparable outcomes of medical communication research are when using different patient accrual methods by comparing cancer patients organization members with outpatient clinic patients.

Methods: In an experimental video-vignettes study, the impact of oncologist communication on trust was tested. Background characteristics (socio-demographics, trait anxiety, health locus of control and attachment style), reported trust, and the impact of communication on trust were compared between the two groups.

Results: Cancer patient organization members (n = 196) were younger and higher educated than clinical patients (n = 148). Members felt more personal control over their health (p < .01) but were also more anxious (p < .05). They reported lower trust in general health care (p < .05), in their own oncologist (p < .001) and in the oncologist in the videos (p < .05). The impact of oncologist communication on trust was similar for both groups.

Conclusions: Despite considerable differences in trust levels, both groups appear equally affected by oncologist communication. Thus, although including cancer patient organization members may impact the generalizability of some findings, using these participants to investigate communication appears justified.

Practice implications: Cancer patient organization members may regard their oncologist more critically. Research including both members and patients recruited through hospital clinics could take group membership into account as a possible confounder. Nonetheless, communicating competence, honesty and caring may benefit the relation with these patients similarly as with other patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-230
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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