Nutrition communication styles of family doctors: results of quantitative research

S.M.E. van Dillen, G.J. Hiddink, M.A. Koelen, C.M.J. van Woerkum

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    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To assess the nutrition communication styles of Dutch family doctors and in particular to assess its psychosocial and sociodemographic correlates. Design: A cross-sectional study in which a representative sample of 600 Dutch family doctors completed a questionnaire. Setting: The survey was conducted in October and November 2004 in the Netherlands. Subjects: A total of 267 family doctors completed the questionnaire (response rate 45%). Methods: Principal component factor analyses with varimax rotation were performed to construct factors. Cronbach's was used as an index of reliability. Our hypothetical model for nutrition communication style was tested using multiple regression analysis, combining the forward and backward procedures under the condition of the same results. Results: Many family doctors felt at ease with a motivational nutrition communication style. The main predictor for motivational nutrition communication style was task perception of prevention (26%). Some individual and environmental correlates had an additional influence (explained variance 49%). Other styles showed explained variances up to 57%. The motivational style was the best predictor for actual nutrition communication behaviour (35%), while the confrontational style was the best predictor for actual nutrition communication behaviour towards overweight (34%). Conclusions: In contemporary busy practice, family doctors seem to rely on their predominant nutrition communication style to deal with standard situations efficiently: for the majority, this proved to be the motivational nutrition communication style. Moreover, family doctors used a combination of styles. This study suggests that family doctors behave like chameleons, by adapting their style to the specific circumstances, like context, time and patient. If family doctors communicate about nutrition in general, they select any of the five nutrition communication styles. If they communicate about overweight, they pick either the confrontational or motivational style
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S47-S56
    JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue numbersuppl.
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • primary-care physicians
    • patient
    • practitioners
    • attitudes
    • education
    • barriers
    • needs

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