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Effects of Patients’ Perceptions of Physician–Patient Relational Empathy on an Inflammation Marker in Patients with Crohn’s Disease: The Intermediary Roles of Anxiety, Self-Efficacy, and Sleep Quality

Authors Xu X, Zhang Y, Wang W, Zhang Y, Yang N

Received 1 July 2019

Accepted for publication 11 February 2020

Published 29 April 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 363—371

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S221435

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Xianlin Xu,1,* Yan Zhang,2,* Wei Wang,3 Yin Zhang,1 Ningxi Yang2

1Department of Gastroenterology, Huiyang Sanhe Hospital, Huizhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China; 2College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Ningxi Yang 145 Nantong Road, Harbin, Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86045182569608
Email yangningxi@bjmu.edu.cn
Yin Zhang 3 Kanghe Road, Huizhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China
Tel +8607523800260
Email zhang_yin_2008@126.com

Background: Physician–patient empathy is inextricably linked with outcomes of patients. The purpose of this study was to test whether anxiety, self-efficacy, and sleep quality played intermediary roles in relationships between patients’ perceptions of physician–patient relational empathy and an inflammation marker in Crohn’s disease patients.
Methods: The study included 187 patients. At admission (T1) and 3 months after admission (T2), anxiety, self-efficacy, sleep, and the inflammatory marker IL6 of patients were tested and compared. Patients’ perceptions of physician–patient relational empathy (CARE scale) was measured at T2. Correlations among patients’ anxiety, self-efficacy, sleep quality, IL6, and CARE scores were explored by Pearson’s correlation analysis and a structural equation model.
Results: Compared with T1, patients showed higher self-efficacy and sleep quality and lower anxiety and IL6 at T2. Patients’ perceptions of physician–patient relational empathy were negatively related to anxiety and IL6 and connected to self-efficacy and sleep quality positively. Patients’ anxiety, self-efficacy, and sleep quality played intermediary roles incorrelations between empathy and IL6.
Conclusion: In correlations of patients’ perceptions of physician–patient relational empathy and IL6 in patients with Crohn’s disease, patients’ anxiety, self-efficacy, and sleep quality acted as intermediary effects. Therefore, medical staff should empathize with patients.

Keywords: empathy, Crohn’s disease, physician–patient communication, mental health


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