We aim to establish the role that perceived physician empathy plays in determining migraineurs’ outcomes and compliance with migraine management plans. We checked for associations between perceived physician empathy and clinical outcomes as well as compliance with management plans.
Materials and Methods:
63 migraineurs were enrolled between July and September 2011. Questionnaire administered at the time of inclusion into the study included self-assessment of disability due to migraine (Migraine Disability Assessment Test) followed by migraineurs’ assessment of physician empathy (Consultation and Relational Empathy Measure). Three months later, a telephonic questionnaire ascertained changes in disability due to migraine and compliance with migraine treatment.
Data was entered in Microsoft Excel 2010 and analyzed using SPSS 17. Pearson's correlation was employed to analyze the significance of relationship between variables. P-value of less than 0.05 has been considered statistically significant.
Statistically significant positive Pearson's correlations are seen between perceived empathy and decrease in migraine disability and symptoms over three months (P < 0.05). Significant positive relationships are also seen between perceived empathy and compliance with diet/meal timings, exercising, de-stressing/sleep pattern modification and medications (P < 0.05). Self-reported compliance is significantly correlated with improved patient outcomes (P < 0.05).
Substantial positive associations are found between perceived physician empathy and migraineurs’ outcomes and compliance with management plans. This emphasizes the importance of empathy in migraineur-physician communication.