Conversation Analysis and Health Communication

Authored by: Kristella Montiegel , Jeffrey D. Robinson

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews contributions to health communication generally, and the study of provider-patient interaction specifically (e.g., physician-patient communication), by the theoretical and methodological perspective of conversation analysis (CA). CA is an inductive, qualitative approach to the study of interaction that can be used to produce quantifiable variables for the statistical analysis of provider-patient interactions’ effects on health outcomes. This chapter reviews (a) key CA contributions to the analysis of provider-patient interaction, including a focus on social action, sequential organization, and the position of actions relative to larger-scale medical activities, as well as how CA differs from other methods of analyzing interaction, such as the use of pre-existing coding schemata, and (b) how CA findings are associated with intra- and extra-visit health outcomes and can be translated into successful efforts to intervene in medical behavior (e.g., in the form of randomized controlled trials) toward the improvement of healthcare.

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