First Advisor

Dr. Erin Winterrowd

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Dr. J. Thomas Howe and Dr. Catherine Kleier


Dr. David Hicks


Regis College

Degree Name


Department (optional)


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

68 pages


Patient-centered communication (PCC) is an important component of healthcare. It is defined as a version of healthcare that is both respectful and responsive to the patient’s needs, values, and preferences while encouraging shared clinical decision-making between a patient and their physician. PCC has numerous benefits for the patient, including but not limited to increases in trust, social support, self-care skills, emotional management, and reduced suffering. However, there are populations that face substantially reduced quality of PCC, such as cancer patients. This may be due to circumstances unique to cancer diagnoses, such as the nature of the disease itself, particular difficulty establishing trust, and disruptions in the physician’s desire to practice good communication skills. The quality of PCC is further limited when factors such as gender are considered, particularly in gender-discordant dyads. Research demonstrates that the worst quality of PCC is found between a female patient and a male physician. In the context of cancer, this is likely exacerbated by specific struggles that women face as a result of cancer and communication styles of male physicians. These factors in combination with each other suggest that PCC quality is substantially worse between a female cancer patient and male physician while being the most needed.

Date of Award

Spring 2019