Date of Conferral







Amy E. Sickel


Research currently indicates patient perceptions of the doctor-patient relationship are central to health outcomes. Theoretically, the current study is grounded in two literatures: the placebo effect and the broader literature examining empirically tested predictors of the doctor-patient relationship. Two factors not yet studied relative to patient perceptions of the doctor-patient relationship include the direct effect of medical gatekeeper characteristics along with the interaction between gatekeeper characteristics and existing healthcare attitudes/behaviors. This quantitative archival study utilized a MultiCare Survey dataset of 10, 579 participants who were general practitioner patients in northwestern United States. This study first examined the individual impact of healthcare attitudes/behaviors as measured by the Health Matters scale and gatekeeper characteristics as measured by the Front Office scale on patient perceptions of the doctor-patient relationship assessed by the Provider and Education scales. Second, this study assessed the interaction of these variables in predicting doctor-patient perceptions. Regression analyses revealed that both healthcare attitudes/behaviors and gatekeeper characteristics individually predicted and interacted to predict doctor-patient perceptions. Findings from the study contribute to social change by identifying the importance of training those individuals who first engage the patient as part of establishing a holistic approach to positive patient relationships.