Do Pediatrician Interpersonal and Personality Characteristics Affect Patient Experience?

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Background and Objectives

Previous studies have demonstrated associations between patient experience scores and physician's demographic characteristics such as gender and race. There is a paucity of data, however, on the effect of broader pediatrician characteristics on caregivers’ experience of their children's care. This study assessed pediatric caregiver experience of care ratings within a children's hospital and examined the effects of pediatricians’ interpersonal and personality traits on caregiver experience ratings.


This cross-sectional study included caregivers of children under 18 years old (n = 26,703) and physicians within children's hospital system (n = 65). Caregivers of children who received care from 2017 to 2019 provided their rating (0–10) of care experience via the standardized National Research Corporation Health Survey. Top box provider ratings were used for analyses. Physician's interpersonal and personality data were collected. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were used to examine the effects of physician interpersonal characteristics (empathy, compassion) and personality (perfectionism, Big Five personality traits [openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism]) on experience of care rating.


The odds of caregivers of Spanish-speaking children to provide a high physician rating were 75% higher than the odds for non-Spanish-speaking patients. At the physician level, lower agreeableness (odds ratio [OR] = 0.63, P = .002), and lower narcissistic perfectionism (OR = 0.98, P = .016) were associated with an increased likelihood of a high care experience rating. The odds of nonemergency medicine pediatricians receiving high ratings were approximately 4.17 times higher than that of EM pediatricians.


Current results may inform future interventions that address pediatrician personality characteristics associated with caregivers of children experience outcomes.


This article was originally published in Academic Pediatrics, volume 23, issue 2, in 2023.