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Michael Vang (SOAR)

The Association Between Health Regulatory Focus and Responses to Physicians

Michael Vang, Jacqueline Hua, MA, & Jennifer L. Howell, PhD

Past research suggests that health regulatory focus may be related to how people perceive physicians. For example, people who are more promotion-focused visit their physician more often. In two studies, we examined whether health regulatory focus was related to positive affective responses to physicians. In Study 1, we recruited 524 undergraduates to complete an online survey in exchange for research credit. A bivariate correlation analysis revealed that being promotion-focused was positively related to positive affective responses to physicians, ​r​(497)= .213, ​p​ < 0.01. Being prevention-focused was not related to affective responses to physicians, r​(497)= .011, ​p​= .812. In Study 2, we recruited 97 patients from a campus health center to complete an online survey in exchange for a gift card. As in Study 1, a bivariate correlation analysis revealed that being promotion-focused was positively related to positive affective responses to physicians, ​r(​ 88)= .250, ​p​ = .019. However, being prevention-focused was not related to affective responses to physicians, ​r(​ 88)= -.058, ​p=​ .592. Collectively, the results suggest that health regulatory focus may be an important factor in physician-patient relationships. Specifically, it may be worthwhile to encourage patients to be more promotion-focused as this might help them perceive their physician more positively.

 

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