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Physicians’ Interactions with Peers: Empathic Accuracy during Shift Handovers on Intensive‐Care Units

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Applied Psychology Health and Well-Being

Published online on


--- - |2+ Background We investigated how accurately physicians judge colleagues’ states during shift handovers on intensive‐care units, the role of physician characteristics, and how accuracy is related to handover partners’ satisfaction. Methods Using mobile phones, we assessed momentary judgements during N = 272 shift handovers by 36 physicians of five Swiss clinics. Physicians rated their own and their partner's affective states. We calculated the covariation of the perceiver's judgements of the partner's affect with the partner's self‐reported affect and the perceiver's own self‐reported affect. We then examined the moderation of these covariations by physicians’ roles and experience. Results Overall, resident physicians were moderately successful in taking their counterparts’ perspective: Perceiver's ratings of partner's affect and the latter's self‐ratings were significantly related. Associations between perceivers’ ratings of their own and their partner's affect were also evident. None of the effects varied as a function of physicians’ roles. There was an unexpected effect of job experience; physicians with more experience were more likely to project their own affect into the rating of partner's affect. Physicians’ accuracy in judging the partner's tense arousal was related to the partner's satisfaction with the social interaction. This effect may have been mainly driven by instances in which low tension was accurately judged, however. - 'Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, EarlyView.