Publications

Patient-Staff Interactions and Mental Health in Chronic Dialysis Patients

Chronic dialysis imposes ongoing stress on patients and staff and engenders recurring contact and long-term relationships. Thus, chronic dialysis units are opportune settings in which to investigate the impact of patients' relationships with staff on patient well-being. The authors designed the present study to examine the degree to which perceptions of open communication between patients and staff affect patient mental health. A one-year, two-wave longitudinal survey assessed patient (N = 109) perceptions of the interpersonal environment and mental health. Assessments included sharing personal information (open disclosure), assisting one another (helping), staff respect for patients (respect), and hierarchical patient-staff relations (formal staff authority). Cross-sectional and longitudinal regression analyses examined how these characteristics of the interpersonal environment relate to depression and subjective well-being among patients. Multivariate analysis showed that open disclosure correlated independently with lower levels of depression at baseline (N = 109) and a predicted significant decrease in depression over time (N = 64). Other interpersonal characteristics did not correlate with depression or subjective well-being at baseline or longitudinally. The interpersonal climate in chronic dialysis units influences patient well-being. Contrary to traditional views, open disclosure in patients' relationships with staff is not detrimental and contributes to well-being. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT] Chronic dialysis imposes ongoing stress on patients and staff and engenders recurring contact and long-term relationships. Thus, chronic dialysis units are opportune settings in which to investigate the impact of patients' relationships with staff on patient well-being. The authors designed the present study to examine the degree to which perceptions of open communication between patients and staff affect patient mental health. A one-year, two-wave longitudinal survey assessed patient (N = 109) perceptions of the interpersonal environment and mental health. Assessments included sharing personal information (open disclosure), assisting one another (helping), staff respect for patients (respect), and hierarchical patient-staff relations (formal staff authority). Cross-sectional and longitudinal regression analyses examined how these characteristics of the interpersonal environment relate to depression and subjective well-being among patients. Multivariate analysis showed that open disclosure correlated independently with lower levels of depression at baseline (N = 109) and a predicted significant decrease in depression over time (N = 64). Other interpersonal characteristics did not correlate with depression or subjective well-being at baseline or longitudinally. The interpersonal climate in chronic dialysis units influences patient well-being. Contrary to traditional views, open disclosure in patients' relationships with staff is not detrimental and contributes to well-being.