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Re-conceptualizing interruptions in physician-patient interview: Co-operative and intrusive
Unformatted Document Text:  Interruption Patterns 19 healthier. There were positive correlations between a patient’s education level and the length of the interview ( r (30) = .38, p < .05), and between a patient’s education level and the physician’s intrusive interruptions ( r (30) = .35, p < .05). The sicker the patient the less likely a physician was to interrupt intrusively. But sicker patients tended to interrupt more intrusively and with no success (see Table 3). _______________________________ Insert Table 3 about here ----------------------------------------------- There were no significant correlations among the three types of interruptions (cooperative, intrusive and unsuccessful) for physicians. It was found that patients who interrupted more intrusively tended to be unsuccessful interrupters, r (30) = .54, p < .01. Discussion The data generated four major findings. Each is intriguing and important, be it a support or a negation of previous research, and each will be discussed below. Physicians and Patients: Who Interrupt Whom more and in What manner? This study showed physicians and patients both interrupting intrusively and co- operatively. Physicians engaged in significantly more intrusive interruptions than patients, who exhibited more co-operative interruptions than physicians. By performing intrusive interruptions, physicians exercised control over the process and/or the content of the on-going conversation. Intrusive interruptions take the form of taking over the floor from, or disagreeing with the current speaker. The intrusive interrupter can also cut the current speaker short and abruptly change the topic. On the other hand, in performing co-operative interruptions, patients intend to assist, and/or agree with the current speaker, and/or have the current speaker clarify or explain a previously elicited piece of information. Co-operative interruptions functioned to co-ordinate on

Authors: Li, Han., Krysko, Michael., Desroches, Naghmeh. and Deagle, George.
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Interruption Patterns
19
healthier. There were positive correlations between a patient’s education level and the length of
the interview ( r (30) = .38, p < .05), and between a patient’s education level and the physician’s
intrusive interruptions ( r (30) = .35, p < .05). The sicker the patient the less likely a physician
was to interrupt intrusively. But sicker patients tended to interrupt more intrusively and with no
success (see Table 3).
_______________________________
Insert Table 3 about here
-----------------------------------------------
There were no significant correlations among the three types of interruptions
(cooperative, intrusive and unsuccessful) for physicians. It was found that patients who
interrupted more intrusively tended to be unsuccessful interrupters, r (30) = .54, p < .01.
Discussion
The data generated four major findings. Each is intriguing and important, be it a
support or a negation of previous research, and each will be discussed below.
Physicians and Patients: Who Interrupt Whom more and in What manner?
This study showed physicians and patients both interrupting intrusively and co-
operatively. Physicians engaged in significantly more intrusive interruptions than patients, who
exhibited more co-operative interruptions than physicians. By performing intrusive interruptions,
physicians exercised control over the process and/or the content of the on-going conversation.
Intrusive interruptions take the form of taking over the floor from, or disagreeing with the current
speaker. The intrusive interrupter can also cut the current speaker short and abruptly change the
topic. On the other hand, in performing co-operative interruptions, patients intend to assist,
and/or agree with the current speaker, and/or have the current speaker clarify or explain a
previously elicited piece of information. Co-operative interruptions functioned to co-ordinate on


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