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Emotion Transfer, Emotion Regulation, and Empathy-Related Processes in Physician-Patient Interactions and Their Association With Physician Well-Being: A Theoretical Model


Weilenmann, Sonja; Schnyder, Ulrich; Parkinson, Brian; Corda, Claudio; von Känel, Roland; Pfaltz, Monique C (2018). Emotion Transfer, Emotion Regulation, and Empathy-Related Processes in Physician-Patient Interactions and Their Association With Physician Well-Being: A Theoretical Model. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9:389.

Abstract

Physicians experience many emotionally challenging situations in their professional lives, influencing their emotional state through emotion contagion or social appraisal processes. Successful emotion regulation is crucial to sustain health, enable well-being, foster resilience, and prevent burnout or compassion fatigue. Despite the alarmingly high rate of stress-related disorders in physicians, affecting not only physician well-being, but also outcomes such as physician performance, quality of care, or patient satisfaction, research on how to deal with emotionally challenging situations in physicians is lacking. Based on extant literature, the present article proposes a theoretical model depicting emotions, emotion regulation, and empathy-related processes and their relation to well-being in provider-client interactions. This model serves as a basis for future research and interventions aiming at improving physician well-being and professional functioning. As a first step, interviews with 21 psychiatrists were conducted. Results of qualitative and initial quantitative analyses provided detailed descriptions of the model's components confirming its usefulness for detecting mechanisms linking emotion regulation and well-being in psychiatrist-patient interactions. Additionally, results lend preliminary support for the validity of the model, suggesting that successful regulation of emotions (i.e., achieving a desired emotional state) elicited by cyclical transfer processes in provider-client interactions is associated with both short- and long-term well-being and resilience. Furthermore, empathy-related emotions and their regulation seem to be linked to well-being. Based on the results of the present study, a prospective longitudinal study is under preparation, which is intended to inform effective interventions targeting emotion transfer, empathy-related processes, and emotion regulation in physicians' professional lives. The model and results are also potentially applicable to other health care and social services providers.

Abstract

Physicians experience many emotionally challenging situations in their professional lives, influencing their emotional state through emotion contagion or social appraisal processes. Successful emotion regulation is crucial to sustain health, enable well-being, foster resilience, and prevent burnout or compassion fatigue. Despite the alarmingly high rate of stress-related disorders in physicians, affecting not only physician well-being, but also outcomes such as physician performance, quality of care, or patient satisfaction, research on how to deal with emotionally challenging situations in physicians is lacking. Based on extant literature, the present article proposes a theoretical model depicting emotions, emotion regulation, and empathy-related processes and their relation to well-being in provider-client interactions. This model serves as a basis for future research and interventions aiming at improving physician well-being and professional functioning. As a first step, interviews with 21 psychiatrists were conducted. Results of qualitative and initial quantitative analyses provided detailed descriptions of the model's components confirming its usefulness for detecting mechanisms linking emotion regulation and well-being in psychiatrist-patient interactions. Additionally, results lend preliminary support for the validity of the model, suggesting that successful regulation of emotions (i.e., achieving a desired emotional state) elicited by cyclical transfer processes in provider-client interactions is associated with both short- and long-term well-being and resilience. Furthermore, empathy-related emotions and their regulation seem to be linked to well-being. Based on the results of the present study, a prospective longitudinal study is under preparation, which is intended to inform effective interventions targeting emotion transfer, empathy-related processes, and emotion regulation in physicians' professional lives. The model and results are also potentially applicable to other health care and social services providers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:28 August 2018
Deposited On:14 Feb 2019 11:07
Last Modified:14 Feb 2019 11:11
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-0640
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00389
PubMed ID:30210371

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