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“Oh don’t worry these are normal cramps” “Have you been treated for anxiety?” “It’s just everyday aches, there’s no issue” These dismissive statements are too often said to patients with endometriosis, an often debilitating and painful disorder when attempting to diagnose their condition. Whereas the limited existing research on physician dismissal focuses mainly on the medical system, this study aimed to understand the experience of dismissal from the patient’s point of view. Namely, how does dismissal impact the way patients trust their physicians, but more importantly: themselves. The study employed a mixed-methodology approach utilizing the Trust in Physician Scale (Anderson & Dedrick, 1990), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), and an original Self-Trust for the quantitative portion (N=10) and an interview protocol for the qualitative measure (N=1) to explore the emotional experience of dismissal. I hypothesized that patients with endometriosis who had higher trust in the physicians, thus accepting physician dismissal, were likely to have lower levels of self-trust. Pearson correlation coefficient analyses found positive correlations between a patient's trust in a physician and symptoms, patient's trust in physician and self-esteem, and patients' trust in symptoms and self-esteem. A multiple regressions analysis found a significant positive relationship between trust in self and physicians, trust in physicians, and self-esteem; however not in the direction predicted by the hypothesis. This data was further contradicted by the analysis of qualitative data that explored the impact of blaming the patient and the ramifications of damaged trust which was in agreement with my hypothesis such that higher trust in doctors in the context of dismissal led to lower self-trust and self-worth. These conflicting results draw importance to the issue of dismissal and prompt further research to explore the complexities of the relationship between self, doctor, and endometriosis.
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Pihas, Isabella Anna, "Wandering Wombs and Wandering Truths: How Physician Dismissal Impacts the Self-Trust of Patients with Endometriosis" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 282.
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