Primary care physicians' discussion of emotional distress and patient satisfaction

Revital Gross*, Shuli Brammli-Greenberg, Hava Tabenkin, Jochanan Benbassat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess: a) the prevalence and determinants of self-reported emotional distress in the Israeli population; b) the rate of self-reported discussion of emotional distress with family physicians; and c) the association between such discussions and patient satisfaction with care. Method: Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional survey that was conducted through structured telephone interviews in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian. This study was part of a larger study assessing patients' perceptions of the quality of health services. Participants: A representative sample of 1,849 Israeli citizens aged 22 to 93 (response rate: 84%). Independent variables: Gender, age, ethnicity (spoken language), education, income, self-reported chronic disease, self-reported episode(s) of emotional distress during the last year, and having discussed emotional distress with the family physician. Outcome measure: satisfaction with care. Results: 28.4% reported emotional distress and 12.5% reported discussion of emotional distress with a primary care physician in the past year. Logistic regression identified female gender, Arab ethnicity, low income, and chronic illness as independent correlates of emotional distress. These as well as Russian speakers and having experienced emotional distress during the past year were identified as independent correlates of discussion of emotional distress with the family physician. Patients who reported discussion of emotional distress with their family physician were significantly more satisfied with care. Conclusions: Encouraging physicians to detect and discuss emotional distress with their patients may increase patient satisfaction with care, and possibly also improve patients' well-being and reduce health care costs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)331-345
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotional distress
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Primary care physicians
  • Survey


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