Almost any encounter with a physician may entail some emotional stress for the patient, the degree of stress depending partly on the patient's personality, partly on the physician's attitude, and partly on the nature of the encounter. Stresses obviously are more severe during certain encounters than during others. The degree of stress and the reasons for it are elucidated whenever the psychosocial aspects of the encounters are studied carefully. Examples of patients' reactions to some of the more strenuous encounters, which usually occur in the hospital environment, abound in medical writings. Only a few are cited here.
Kaplan1 analyzed the emotional impact of laboratory testing in 30 selected patients each of whom was interviewed by a psychiatrist within 24 hours after a laboratory procedure. Adverse emotional responses varied from anxiety or fear to severe depression. The main causes of reactions included lack of information or, indeed, misinformation