Exploring emotions and the shared decision-making process in pediatric primary care

Francesca Dicé, Pasquale Dolce, Maria Francesca Freda


This paper aims to identify conversational interaction patterns in pediatrics with a focus on the shared decision-making process and dialogue about emotions in doctor–patient relationships. We documented conversations in 163 visits by 168 children in pediatric primary care; we observed, audiorecordered, transcribed and analyzed them with specific instruments of analysis of doctor patient relationship. Our survey was conducted in four pediatric primary care practices and 15 health providers were involved. The data collection period lasted three months and was undertaken twice a week on days. We analyzed visits with Verona Coding Definitions of Emotional Sequences (VR-CoDES) and Observing Patient Involvement in Shared Decision Making (OPTION) instruments. Frequencies of emotions’ signals (cues/concerns) obtained using VR-CoDES were analyzed and compared with the OPTION ratings. We documented 318 cues/concerns for parents and 167 for children. The relationship between cues/concerns and Healthcare Providers responses was strongest in dialogues between parents and pediatricians. The conversational patterns focused on the procedures of the care, with little opportunities of dialogue about emerging emotions. We also observed limited possibilities for participant involvement, especially by children, due to several difficulties integrating dialogue about emotions and concordance processes. The conversations seemed to be characterized by rarity of shared decision making or attention to the informational value of children’s emotions. It could be useful to implement psychological interventions to achieve an enrichment of the dialogue between participants, helping them to incorporate emotions into conversations and to recognize decisional competences, necessary to concordance processes.


Exploring emotions; Decision-making; Pediatric primary care

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.6092/2282-1619/2016.4.1312


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