Research Measures Racial Differences in Nonverbal Communication Between Doctors and Patients

A study by researchers at the University of South Carolina examined nonverbal communication between physicians and elderly patients. The researchers used videotaped encounters between Black and White physicians and patients over the age of 65. The researchers’ analysis of nonverbal behaviors, including smiling, eye contact, touching, and open body position, found that generally Black physicians outperformed White physicians in positive nonverbal contact with their patients.

The study also found that Black doctors were more likely to show positive nonverbal behavior to Black patients than they did to White patients. Irena Stepanikova, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina and a coauthor of the study, concluded, “This conflicted pattern of communication may suggest a lack of social ease that is reminiscent of behavior between female doctors with male patients.”

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, may be downloaded here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Black Film Project and Film Studies Fellowships Established at Harvard University

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will direct the newly established Black Film Project, an initiative aiming to support independent films focusing on Black history and culture.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Yale Library Acquires Digital Collection of Langston Hughes Papers

In a recent December upload, the Yale University Library added a collection of papers from Black poet Langston Hughes to the school's online archive. The collection contains correspondence between Hughes and other authors and civil rights activists of his time.

Academic Fields Where Blacks Earned Few or No Doctoral Degrees in 2022

In 2022, African Americans earned 1.2 percent of all mathematics and statistics doctorates, 1.2 percent of all doctorates in computer science, 1.7 percent of all doctorates in chemistry, and only 1.7 percent of all doctorates awarded in engineering disciplines.

Featured Jobs