Can a “word” bias your parenting?
If I tell you that one properly placed word can change the way you view your child’s ailment, you will probably pooh-pooh it. But that is exactly what happens when you meet your doctor.
In a recent findings in Pediatrics, Scherer and her colleagues published that a physician’s choice of words can have a significant impact on parental decision-making.
Between 2011 and 2012, researchers surveyed 175 parents (average age ~ 35) in two setting:
– a pediatric clinic waiting room
– an examination room.
Most participants were mothers and described as highly educated.
The average age of their kids were 4.5 years.
About one-fifth of these children had been previously diagnosed with GERD.
Those parents who were given a “GERD” diagnosis ended up being interested in treating their infant with drugs despite being specifically cautioned that drugs wouldn’t work. Those without the specific diagnosis name, were not.
The study highlights the powerful impact that a physician’s choice of words can have on parental decision-making, while emphasizing the importance of good doctor-patient/parent communication.
So, next time you walk into a physician’s office, remember this hidden bias that might force you to put your child on unnecessary chemicals.