Date of Award

Summer 2006

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Griffin, Robert

Second Advisor

Thorn, William

Third Advisor

Kosmoski-Goepfert, Kerri

Abstract

Introduction - Nurses and physicians are not exempt from having religious beliefs, but they are taught to appIroach communication in the clinical setting in an objective, scientific manner. The study attempts to examine how religious beliefs may influence patterns of communication in the clinical environment. 11 Theory - The study was guided by relational control theory, which says that conversation partners assert control through patterns of conversation indicating who is in charge. Previous studies indicate it is helpful for patients to have some control of conversations, but medical providers do not always relinquish control. Previous research also indicates intrinsic religiosity has a positive impact on empathy. Hypothesis - It is expected that nurses who are higher in intrinsic religiosity will be higher in empathy; nurses who are higher in empathy will be more willing to relinquish control; and nurses that are higher in intrinsic religiosity will be more willing to relinquish control. Empathy is expected to be an intervening variable, diminishing the impact of intrinsic religiosity on willingness to relinquish control. Method and Analysis - An online survey, designed to measure relational control, empathy and religiosity, was administered to graduate students in the School of Nursing at Marquette University. Data were analyzed in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences. Discussion - Intrinsic religiosity did not have an impact on empathy, but intrinsic religiosity and empathy both had an impact on willingness to relinquish control of conversations in certain contexts. Empathy slightly enhanced the effect of intrinsic religiosity on willingness to relinquish control.

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