Dottore di Ricerca in Medicina materno-infantile, IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”, Trieste
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Key words: FACS, Paediatrician, Facial expression, Mother
Background: Effective communication between physicians and patients is to be regarded as a clinical function that cannot be left aside. In the perspective of a permanent education in the health field we could supervise the relation between physician and patient, draw up a framework of behaviours and intervene with appropriate systems and psychological techniques like FACS (facial action coding system). Aims: Using FACS system in the paediatric and sanitary field to analyse the levels of communication in the relationship between paediatricians and mothers. Materials and methods: The method used consists of the decoding, through the FACS, of the facial expression and emotions of the paediatrician and of child's mother during the examination. Two video cameras have been used to simultaneously record the facial expressions of both the subjects present in the ambulatory. There have been 22 examinations in all. Each examination included three FACS analysis for the mother and three for the paediatrician, 132 FACS totally. Paediatricians have been subdivided according to sex and age. Results: Paediatricians have wide spatial behaviour and a positive attitude. Emotion is always present in paediatricians' faces. There is more perplexity in the facial expression of the doctors specializing in paediatrics than in expert paediatricians. Male paediatricians seem more perplexed during the examination. In specializing doctors' expressions amazement prevails. Female paediatricians open and close the examination smiling, but in the middle of it amazement prevails. Men are less socializing than women. Parents have revealed bigger variations of emotions (smile, anxiety/worry, amazement, perplexity, fear, contempt). Conclusions: according to the overall result, paediatricians use a stereotyped method to communicate during the examination, while accidental emotions prevail in parents according to the communication ability (intensity) of the paediatrician in the interpersonal relationship in the ambulatory.
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