Fibbing to the doctor

"Most people want their doctor to think highly of them," said the study's senior author Angela Fagerlin from University of Utah in the US.

By Author  |  Published: 3rd Dec 2018  3:32 pmUpdated: 3rd Dec 2018  4:18 pm
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If you tend to dodge or bluff to your doctor on questions related to exercise or diet, you have company. Some people lie to avoid being judged, while others feel simply too embarrassed to tell the truth or just do not want to be lectured about how bad certain behaviours are, suggests new research.

“Most people want their doctor to think highly of them,” said the study’s senior author Angela Fagerlin from University of Utah in the US.

“They’re worried about being pigeonholed as someone who doesn’t make good decisions,” she added.

Insights came from a two-phase online survey that captured responses from 2,011 participants averaging 36 years 2,499 participants who were 61 on average.

About 60 to 80 per cent of people stated they were not forthcoming about health related queries from their doctors, according to the study published in JAMA Network Open.

Besides fibbing about diet and exercise, more than a third of respondents were shy to speak up about being unhappy with the clinician’s recommendations.

Another common scenario was failing to admit they did not understand their clinician’s instructions.

The trouble with a patient’s dishonesty is that doctors cannot offer accurate medical advice, when they don’t have all the facts.

“If patients are withholding information, it can have significant implications for their health. Especially if they have a chronic illness,” said the study’s first author Andrea Gurmankin Levy, associate professor at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut, US.