Predicting patient centered behaviors among infertility specialists: The role of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lowered sense of accomplishment
Harris, Julianna M.
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Within the United States, there has been a significant increase in the number of women aged 15-44 who have encountered difficulty in becoming pregnant, from 4.5 million in 1982 to 6.7 million in 2010. If the difficulty becomes officially diagnosed as infertility, a variety of factors can influence the efficacy of treatment. Past research has explored factors attributed to the patient including age, source of infertility, and levels of depression and. Most recently, infertility-related research has been exploring the influence of patient centered care on treatment efficacy. Patient centered care has been defined as fitting into one of five dimensions: biopsychosocial perspective, patient-as-person, sharing power and responsibility, therapeutic alliance, and doctor-as-person. Presently, infertility-related research has explored four of the five dimensions of patient centered care and how they relate to treatment efficacy. The current study will be exploring the fifth dimension, doctor-as-person. The doctor-as-person dimension has been the least researched, due to the difficulty in quantifying personality characteristics of the physician, which are often static and also context-specific. One physician related characteristic that has received significant attention in medical research is burnout. Burnout is defined as emotional exhaustion, which involves depletion of mental energy and resources; depersonalization, which is seen as detaching from patients; and a lowered sense of accomplishment, a physician’s tendency to evaluate their work with patients negatively. The current study aimed to explore how a doctor-as-person dynamic, specifically the level of burnout the physician is experiencing, predicts the physician’s perceived ability to deliver patient centered care.