Lifestyle advice in UK Primary Care consultations: Doctors? use of conditional forms of advice

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    Objective: To investigate how doctors deliver lifestyle advice to patients in ordinary general practice consultations. Method: A secondary analysis of audio/video recorded primary care consultations between doctors and patients. Instances of lifestyle related talk were identified and analysed according to the methods of Conversation Analysis. Results: The most frequently used format for delivering advice was found to be if-conditional forms. Conditional forms work to convey how advice is relevant to the individual?s health circumstances 1) topicalising the problematic risk to the patient, 2) informing and warning the patient of reoccurring or future health risks, and 3) offering changes in lifestyle in addition to or as a replacement for medication. Conclusion: The results show that doctors use if-conditional constructions to navigate anticipated or actual difficulties evidenced through misalignment in delivering lifestyle advice, by conveying the importance of the advice to the individual patient. Practice Implications: Using if-conditional constructions when talking with patients regarding their problematic risk factors provides a technique enabling doctors to navigate the sensitivities associated with giving advice, whilst delivering personalised and preventative medicine.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPatient Education and Counseling
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 31 Mar 2021


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