Listening for feelings: Identifying and coding empathic and potential empathic opportunities in medical dialogues

Hilde Eide, Richard Frankel, Anne Christine Bull Haaversen, Kerstin Anine Vaupel, Peter K. Graugaard, Arnstein Finset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The objective of the study was to validate the model of empathic opportunity (EO) and potential empathic opportunity (PEO) using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) in a sample of cancer patients. Thirty-nine audio taped consultations at an outpatient oncology clinic performed by four oncologists were previously coded with the Roter Interaction Analysis System for another purpose. These consultations were also coded by two raters with the empathic and potential empathic opportunity method (E-PE-O method). The reliability of EO and PEO coding was satisfactory. Most of the EOs were found within the RIAS category "showing concern". The PEOs were found in both the socio-emotional and the instrumental categories of the RIAS. We conclude that the E-PE-O method is a good starting point for studying the empathy process in oncology consultations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004



  • Empathy
  • Patient's concern and worry
  • Physician-patient relations
  • RIAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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