[en] cancer ; anxiety ; medical consultation ; communication skills ; training
[en] Background: No study has yet assessed the impact of physicians' skills acquisition after a communication skills training programme on the evolution of patients' anxiety following a medical consultation. This study aimed to compare the impact, on patients' anxiety, of a basic communication skills training programme (BT) and the same programme consolidated by consolidation workshops (CW), and to investigate physicians' communication variables associated with patients' anxiety. Patients and methods: Physicians, after attending the BT, were randomly assigned to CW or to a waiting list. The control group was not a non-intervention group. Consultations with a cancer patient were recorded. Patients' anxiety was assessed with the State Trait Anxiety Inventory before and after a consultation. Communication skills were analysed according to the Cancer Research Campaign Workshop Evaluation Manual. Results: No statistically significant change over time and between groups was observed. Mixed-effects modelling showed that a decrease in patients' anxiety was linked with screening questions (P = 0.045), physicians' satisfaction about support given (P = 0.004) and with patients' distress (P < 0.001). An increase in anxiety was linked with breaking bad news (P = 0.050) and with supportive skills (P = 0.013). No impact of the training programme was observed. Conclusions: This study shows the influence of some communication skills on the evolution of patients' anxiety. Physicians should be aware of these influences.