Predictors of weight discussion in primary care consultations: a multilevel modelling approach

Calum Thomas McHale*, Anita Helen Laidlaw, Joanne Elizabeth Cecil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


To understand how primary care weight-related communication processes are influenced by individual differences in primary care practitioner (PCP) and patient characteristics and communication use.

Two multilevel logistic regression models were calculated to predict the occurrence of 1) weight-related discussion and 2) weight-related consultation outcomes. Coded communication data (Roter Interaction Analysis System) from 218 video-recorded consultations between PCPs and patients with overweight and obesity in Scottish primary care practices were combined with their demographic data to develop the multilevel models.

Weight-related discussions were more likely to occur when a greater proportion of PCP’s total communication was partnership building and activating communication. More discrete weight discussions during a consultation predicted weight-related consultation outcomes. Patient BMI positively predicted both weight-related discussion and consultation outcomes.

This work demonstrates that multilevel modelling is a viable approach to investigating coded primary care weight-related communication data and that it can provide insight into the impact that various patient and PCP factors have on these communication processes.

Practice Implications
Through the increased use of partnership building and activating communications, and by engaging in shorter, but more frequent, discussions about patient weight, PCPs may better facilitate weight-related discussion and weight-related consultation outcomes for their patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-511
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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