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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 55

of 'Discussing serious news'

Factors that influence cancer patients' anxiety following a medical consultation: impact of a communication skills training programme for physicians.
Liénard A, Merckaert I, Libert Y, Delvaux N, Marchal S, Boniver J, Etienne AM, Klastersky J, Reynaert C, Scalliet P, Slachmuylder JL, Razavi D
Ann Oncol. 2006 Sep;17(9):1450-8. Epub 2006 Jun 26.
BACKGROUND: No study has yet assessed the impact of physicians' skills acquisition after a communication skills training programme on the evolution of patients' anxiety following a medical consultation. This study aimed to compare the impact, on patients' anxiety, of a basic communication skills training programme (BT) and the same programme consolidated by consolidation workshops (CW), and to investigate physicians' communication variables associated with patients' anxiety.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Physicians, after attending the BT, were randomly assigned to CW or to a waiting list. The control group was not a non-intervention group. Consultations with a cancer patient were recorded. Patients' anxiety was assessed with the State Trait Anxiety Inventory before and after a consultation. Communication skills were analysed according to the Cancer Research Campaign Workshop Evaluation Manual.
RESULTS: No statistically significant change over timeand between groups was observed. Mixed-effects modelling showed that a decrease in patients' anxiety was linked with screening questions (P = 0.045), physicians' satisfaction about support given (P = 0.004) and with patients' distress (P<0.001). An increase in anxiety was linked with breaking bad news (P = 0.050) and with supportive skills (P = 0.013). No impact of the training programme was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows the influence of some communication skills on the evolution of patients' anxiety. Physicians should be aware of these influences.
UniversitéLibre de Bruxelles, Facultédes Sciences Psychologiques et de l'Education, Brussels, Belgium.