Exploring space in the consultation room: Environmental influences during patient-physician interaction

V.S. Okken, Thomas Johannes Lucas van Rompay, Adriaan T.H. Pruyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Patients' disclosure of personal information is a key factor in health communication. Research shows that the environment can affect self-disclosure. The 2 studies reported in this article set out to examine the effects of the perceived spaciousness of a consultation room on patient readiness to communicate personal information to his or her physician. To influence perceived spaciousness, desk size and room size were manipulated. Results from both studies show that an increase in room size in particular positively influences perceived comfort and intended self-disclosure. However, the affective valence of the conversation was found to influence this relation, indicating that people prefer a smaller interpersonal distance when the conversation is positively framed and room size is large. Furthermore, findings show that spaciousness effects on self-disclosure are qualified by patient characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-412
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-287231
  • IR-83646


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