The good, the bad, and the contingency: How patients’ treatment verification behaviors are linked to doctors’ reactions

Wei Wu, Wu Liu, Lin Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This article introducesTreatment Verification Behavior (TVB) to conceptualize patient proactivity. The article also aims to examine doctors’ responses to patients’ TVBs.

A doctor-patient paired, two-wave data set was collected from eight hospitals in North China. We collected data from 304 doctor-patient dyads with each doctor rating, on average, three inpatients.

The results show that when patients consulted their doctors about information regarding a diagnosis or treatment (i.e.,consulting TVB), it improved doctors’ perception of the patients’ ability, which further increased doctors’ work engagement. Alternatively, when patients challenged doctors about information regarding a diagnosis or treatment (i.e., challenging TVB), it induced doctors’ perception of threat but without significantly decreasing doctors’ work engagement. In addition, when doctors felt respected by patients, this feeling moderated the effects of patients’ TVBs on doctors’ reactions.

Both the content (the “what”) and the manner (the “how”) of patients’ proactive communications with their doctors will influence doctors’ responses.

Practice implications
These insights suggest that patient and doctor communication training should include components that address both the content and performance of communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1364-1370
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Doctor engagement
  • Patient proactivity
  • Treatment verification behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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