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Title: Does speech prosody matter in health communication? : evidence from native and non-native English speaking medical students in a simulated clinical interaction
Author: Wang, Fan
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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The impact of the UK’s multilingual and multicultural society today can be seen in its healthcare services and have contributed towards shaping communication skills training as a core part of the UK undergraduate medical curriculum. NHS complaints statistics involving perceived staff attitudes have remained high, despite extensive communication skills training. Furthermore, foreign doctors have received a higher proportion of complaints than UK doctors. Finally, how linguistic and social factors shape the conveyance and perception of attitudes related to professionalism in medical communication remains poorly understood. The ultimate aim of this study was to ascertain if speech prosody contributes to the perception of professionalism in medical communication. Research questions on the role of speech prosody in conveying professional attitudes in medical communication, the prosodic differences between native and non-native English speaking medical students in a simulated clinical interaction, and the influence of prosodic features on listeners’ perceptions of professional attitudes were addressed. A set of acoustic parameters representing the speech prosody of native and non-native medical students in the simulated clinical setting was analysed. A perceptual experiment was then carried out to investigate the factors affecting perceived professionalism in extracts of the analysed simulated clinical interaction. The examined acoustic parameters were found to be sensitive to the English language background and the task within the simulated consultation. Interestingly, the attitudinal information associated with some of these acoustic parameters were perceived by listeners and were reflected by higher professional scale scores in the perceptual experiment, even after adjusting for the English language background. The factors of training level and consultation task also emerged to be affecting professional scale scores. Initial findings have confirmed that speech prosody plays a role in terms of contributing towards the perception of professionalism in medical communication. Incorporating how messages are delivered to patients into current models of communication skills training may have positive outcomes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available