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Relationship of patient shame to working alliance and satisfaction: a preliminary investigation

Daniel J. Carabellese (School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, South Australia)
Michael J. Proeve (School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, South Australia)
Rachel M. Roberts (School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, South Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 27 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship of two distinct variants of dispositional shame (internal and external shame) with collaborative, purpose-driven aspects of the patient–provider relationship (working alliance) and patient satisfaction. The aim of this research was to conduct a preliminary investigation into the relevance of dispositional shame in a general healthcare population.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 127 community members (mean age 25.9 years) who reported that they had regularly seen a GP over the past year were recruited at an Australian university. Participants were asked to reflect on their relationship with their GP, and completed instruments assessing various domains of shame, as well as working alliance and patient satisfaction.

Findings

Non-parametric correlations were examined to determine the direction and strength of relationships, as well as conducting mediation analyses where applicable. Small, negative correlations were evident between external shame and working alliance. Both external and internal shame measures were also negatively correlated with patient satisfaction. Finally, the relationship of external shame to patient satisfaction was partially mediated by working alliance.

Practical implications

Both the reported quality of patient–provider working alliance, and level of patient satisfaction are related to levels of dispositional shame in patients, and working alliance may act as a mediator for this relationship.

Originality/value

The findings from this preliminary study suggest that internal and external shame are important factors to consider in the provision of medical care to maximise the quality of patient experience and working alliance.

Keywords

Citation

Carabellese, D.J., Proeve, M.J. and Roberts, R.M. (2019), "Relationship of patient shame to working alliance and satisfaction: a preliminary investigation", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 251-263. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-10-2017-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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