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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An empirical investigation of dyadic verbal interaction in the chronic paediatric health care delivery system MacKinnon, Joyce Roberta


The primary objective of this study was to analyze dyadic verbal interactions and to determine whether they were associated with the roles of the participants. These "interactions occurred in the chronic paediatric health care delivery system between parents of handicapped children and physicians and between those same parents and other members of the health team. Additional objectives of this research included testing of the reliability of the Sequential Analysis of Verbal Interaction (SAVI) instrument and its utility in the health care system. Clinical data were obtained during regularly scheduled appointments in the form of audio-taped interviews using 37 parent-professional 'and 37 parent-paraprofessional dyads. A six-minute sample was selected from each interview tape, coded at three-second intervals, transcribed into the class of communication behaviour and analyzed. Subsequent to data collection, reliability and utility of the SAVI instrument were examined and determined to be appropriate for this study. The major finding of the study was that parents of handicapped children used different verbal messages and behaviours than professionals and paraprofessionals. The communication pattern for all three groups, using Agazarian's (1968) model was cross-purpose. Under a proposed model, adapted from Agazarian's, the parents' pattern of communication was considered to approximate the problem-solving pattern more closely. The conclusion drawn from this exploratory study was that very little of a personal nature was occurring in interpersonal communication, which in turn hindered the development of a problem-solving pattern of communication. An important direction for further research would be the testing of the predominance of the cross-purpose pattern of communication using a larger and more homogenous sample of professionals and paraprofessionals.

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