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Gender, power, and non-verbal communication 

Gender, power, and non-verbal communication
Gender, power, and non-verbal communication

Marianne Schmid Mast

, Valérie Carrard

, and Judith A. Hall

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date: 05 December 2020

In the study of communication between patients and providers, non-verbal behaviours have often been overlooked. Patients’ non-verbal communication is essential for effective care, and providers’ non-verbal behaviour has been shown to significantly influence medical encounter outcomes. Non-verbal behaviours relative to the power distribution between patients and providers have been shown to greatly impact outcomes with more provider dominance being linked to less positive outcomes. Additionally, gender of both the patients and the providers affect which non-verbal behaviours are shown, and how they are perceived and evaluated. In the present chapter, we discuss the effects of non-verbal communication on how medical encounters unfold in light of the gender and power distribution among provider and patient, the implications of these findings for oncological and palliative care are discussed.

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