Capozza, D., Falvo, R., Boin, J., & Colledani, D.
Dehumanization in medical contexts: An expanding research field
In this contribution, we review the studies which have investigated humanity attributions in medical contexts. They evidence patient infrahumanization effects; healthcare professionals working in hospitals perceive patients as less characterized than physicians and nurses by the unique features of human species. It has also been found that the attribution of a lower human status to patients is associated with lower perceptions of stress and burnout. In addition, patient dehumanization may facilitate clinical problem solving. We support the position that patient dehumanization is a dysfunctional strategy to cope with stress; stress can be limited in other ways, for instance by taking appropriate organizational measures. Concerning clinical problem solving, physicians should find a balance between sharing patients’ emotions and performing clinical tasks. Future research should investigate whether healthcare providers’ dehumanizing perceptions affect patients’ self-evaluations, patients’ satisfaction with care, and their adherence to medical treatments.
Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 2016, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 545-559, DOI: 10.4473/TPM23.4.8Back