In a questionnaire study, the authors compared psychiatrist-patient communications in the two states (South Carolina and West Virginia) that lack a privilege statute with psychiatrist-patient communications in the state of Texas, in which a privilege statute has been enacted. Although there were differences in the patient populations and in the nature of the psychiatrists' practices, there seemed to be little impact of privilege or lack of privilege on therapist-patient communication. A small percentage of patients in all three states would have sought treatment earlier had they known of the existence of privilege, but most patients relied more on their doctors' ethics than on statutory protection of their confidences. Patients who thought they were protected by privilege did not disclose more to their psychiatrist than patients who did not think they were so protected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health