Privacy between physicians and patients: More than a matter of confidentiality

Roxanne Parrott, Judee K. Burgoon, Michael Burgoon, Beth A. LePoire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This study examined patients' perceptions (N = 427) of the meaning of privacy within the physician-patient dyad. The recognition of the importance of privacy, the norms that govern privacy, and the specific behaviors that may be considered to violate privacy in relationships has most often received only general attention by researchers. Recent evidence from the field of communication supports the multidimensional and situational nature of privacy. Thus, in contrast to the usual conception of patient confidentiality as an issue focused on information, confidentiality is cast as a topic within both the informational and psychological realms of privacy. Implications for current medical interviewing practices, especially with regard to questions that concern patients' sexual behavior, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1385
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989


  • communications
  • confidentiality
  • doctor-patient relations
  • medicine
  • privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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