Patient age influences perceptions about health care communication

Jennifer E. Devoe, Lorraine S. Wallace, George E. Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: The study's objective was to determine if a patient's age is independently associated with how he/she perceives interactions with health care providers. Methods: We used a secondary, crosssectional analysis of nationally representative data from the 2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). We measured the independent association between patient age and six outcomes pertaining to communication and decision-making autonomy, while simultaneously controlling for gender, race, ethnicity, family income, educational attainment, census region, rural residence, insurance status, and usual source of care. Results: Compared to patients ≥ 65 years, patients ages 18-64 were less likely to report that their provider "always" listened to them, "always" showed respect for what they had to say, and "always" spent enough time with them. Discussion: Patient perceptions of health care interactions vary by age. A better understanding of how and why age is associated with patient-provider communication could be useful to design practice-level interventions that enhance services and also to develop national policies that improve health care delivery and health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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