A Preliminary Inquiry into Physicians’ Perceptions of Patient Self-Control

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D., and Deane H. Shapiro, Jr., Ph.D.

This article stresses the need for physicians to train patients in the self-control skills necessary for them to take greater responsibility for their own health care. As an initial step, the authors report the findings of a small pilot study in which they examined the perception of 16 obstetrician/gynocologists regarding their patients’ degree of self-control as it related to medical problems. Findings suggested that this group of physicians exhibited confusion about the concept of self-control and its applicability to patient care. At the same time the authors identified areas of patient care in which, according to physicians’ perceptions, the use of self-control skills might be beneficial. The study report indicates aspects of self-control that are of particular interest to physicians and concludes with suggestions for further research.

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