Pediatricians' Communication Styles as Correlates of Global Trust Among Jewish and Bedouin Parents of Disabled Children

Talma Kushnir, Yaacov G. Bachner, Sara Carmel, Hagit Flusser, Aharon Galil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: There is a paucity of empirical studies of trust among parents of children with developmental disabilities. Trust is an important element in the patient-physician relationship, especially in medical rehabilitation, where continuous cooperation is essential for positive therapeutic outcomes. Trust is dependent on a variety of psychosocial factors, one of which is the physician's communication style. The current study had three goals: (1) to compare two groups of Israeli parents, Jews and Bedouins, in terms of the levels of global trust in the pediatricians in a regional child development center; (2) to compare their perceptions of the pediatricians' communication styles; and (3) to assess the association between three communication styles (caring, interest, and collaboration) and the parents' trust in the pediatricians. METHODS: The sample included 193 parents of disabled children ranging from 6 months to 6 years of age. Global trust and parents' perceptions concerning their communication with the center's pediatricians were measured by scales developed for this research. RESULTS: Despite the large cultural differences that exist between the Jewish and Bedouin groups, the only significant difference between them was that Jewish parents' reported a significantly higher level of collaboration compared with the Bedouins. Global trust in the pediatrician was significantly predicted by the interest and collaboration communication styles, but ethnicity was not a significant predictor. CONCLUSION: These findings underscore the importance of physicians' interpersonal competence and skills in the therapeutic relationship and support the increasing trend of including doctor-patient communication training in undergraduate and continuing medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Communication styles
  • Disabled children
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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