Why Patients Lie To Their Doctors

Being honest with your doctor is important– it could literally affect your life. But it turns out a lot of people lie to their doctors. A new study finds 60 to 80 percent of those surveyed admit they have not been forthcoming with their doctors about information that could be relevant to their health. Besides lying about their exercise habits and diet, more than a third didn’t speak up when they disagreed with their doctor’s recommendation. Another common behavior: failing to admit they didn’t understand their clinician’s instructions. When asked why they fibbed, most said they wanted to avoid being judged, and didn’t want to be lectured about how bad certain behaviors were, and more than half were simply too embarrassed to tell the truth. Study co-author Dr. Angela Fagerlin explains, “Most people want their doctor to think highly of them. They’re worried about being pigeonholed as someone who doesn’t make good decisions.” Researchers also note that it might not be the fault of patients entirely, as “how providers are communicating in certain situations may cause patients to be hesitant to open up.”