An Analysis of Clinical Handover Miscommunication Using a Language and Social Psychology Approach

Bernadette Maria Watson, Elizabeth Manias, Fiona Geddes, Phillip Della, Dorothy Jones

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Clinical handover is a key communication event in patient care and a major contributing factor in adverse events in hospitals. Current research on handover emphasizes communication skills training. We investigate the intergroup context and systemic factors of the hospital environment that also affect handover. We explore the responses of 707 health professionals about handover practice. We invoke Coupland and colleagues’ integrative model of “miscommunication” to interpret these. Results support the model. Responses reflect a lack of communication competency, intergroup group relations, and the hidden ideology of the health care system. Health professionals in hospitals are often unaware of the socio-structural element in health care and so cannot bring about cultural change. We suggest that clinicians work with communication and interdisciplinary scholars to bring about system improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-701
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical handover
  • intergroup health communication
  • miscommunication
  • skills training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'An Analysis of Clinical Handover Miscommunication Using a Language and Social Psychology Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this