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Trust and respect in the patient-clinician relationship: preliminary development of a new scale

  • Crits-Christoph, Paul1
  • Rieger, Agnes
  • Gaines, Averi1
  • Gibbons, Mary Beth Connolly1
  • 1 University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market St (Room 650), Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA , Philadelphia (United States)
Published Article
BMC Psychology
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Dec 30, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s40359-019-0347-3
Springer Nature


BackgroundTrust and respect may be an important component of client-provider relationships. This study aimed to develop and report preliminary psychometric analyses of a new brief measure to evaluate a patient’s level of trust and respect for their clinician. The scale was designed to be applicable in multiple healthcare contexts, with a particular focus on mental healthcare.MethodsAdult patients completed the study survey in an academic outpatient psychiatric clinic waiting room. Classical and Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses were utilized to examine the adequacy of scale items. Validity was examined in relation to the patient-therapist alliance and to willingness to share private information (social media content) with one’s clinician.ResultsBeginning with 10 items, a final 8-item version of the measure was created with an internal consistency reliability of .91. Principal components analysis indicated that the scale was best viewed as capturing one overall dimension. A Graded Response Model IRT model indicated that all items contributed information on the latent dimension, and all item curves were not flat at any region. The correlation of the trust/respect total score with the alliance was .53 when respect-related items were deleted from the alliance score. The trust/respect scale was significantly associated with patient willingness to share social media posts with their clinician but the alliance was not.ConclusionsThe brief measure of patient trust and respect towards their clinician was unidimensional, showed good internal consistency, and was not redundant with existing measures of the alliance. The scale has the potential to be used in a wide variety of healthcare settings.

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