The doctor-patient relationship during medical internship: The evolution of dissatisfaction

Landy Sparr, Geoffrey H. Gordon, David H. Hickam, Donald Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


We prospectively examined perceptions of the doctor-patient relationship among interns in two different internal medicine training programs five times during the internship year. All 59 interns in the University of California, Irvine-Long Beach and the Oregon Health Sciences University Medical Programs participated in the study during the 1982-1983 internship year. We serially administered a questionnaire that contained four major items: (1) a choice of one of six empirically developed role paradigms of the doctor-patient relationship; (2) a checklist of positive and negative aspects of internship; (3) a measure of level of satisfaction with the decision to become a physician; and (4) a rating list of mood descriptors. The six role paradigms portrayed a variety of positive and negative aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. At the beginning of the year, the interns were quite positive about the doctor-patient relationship and preferentially endorsed collegial models. As the year progressed, they endorsed significantly fewer positive and more negative models (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1101
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1988



  • doctor-patient relationship
  • internship
  • medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

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