Study Shows This Generation Is Most Likely To Be Dishonest With Their Doctors

Have you ever glossed over some of your unhealthy habits at the doctor's office? If so, you're not alone. HealthDay News reports up to 80% of people in the U.S. leave out essential details that could be crucial to receiving the best healthcare recommendations. "A lot of people are not fully honest with their provider," senior researcher Angela Fagerlin, chair of population health sciences at the University of Utah, told the publication. "They don't tell them all the information they could tell them." 

Shame and fear of judgment are among the top reasons people don't tell their doctor everything. A new survey by Berxi showed that 77% of patients fibbed, either outright or by leaving out information, when seeing their doctor. Furthermore, the results show Gen Z is the most likely to be dishonest with their doctors. 

That being said, other generations weren't much more honest. Healthline breaks down the results, explaining that 76% of Millennials lied, primarily about their exercise habits. A total of 75% of Gen Xers admitted to lying, mostly downplaying alcohol consumption. About 69% of Baby Boomers admitted to stretching the truth, particularly about their eating habits.

Why are people dishonest with their doctors?

Being completely honest doesn't guarantee you'll be satisfied with your doctor. Of the 23% of survey respondents who claimed to be completely honest, 64% said they sometimes didn't feel heard by healthcare providers. Additionally, 83% of the people who admitted being dishonest with their doctor said healthcare providers didn't believe them, even when they told the truth. The results confirmed that patients lie out of shame, fear, or judgment. They also revealed that patients across all generations might lie because they don't trust medical providers to have sufficient expertise or the ability to grasp the finer nuances of their health status. A 29-year-old woman explained to Berxi survey researchers, "I didn't want them to think my health issues were due to feeling depressed because they'd discount my feelings." 

Healthline says telehealth makes it easier for patients to lie to practitioners, especially during initial consultations. Fagerlin tells HealthDay News that people may refrain from telling doctors they disagree with treatment plans or healthcare approaches, which could lead to patients not completing treatment or medications. Researchers stress the importance of being completely honest with your healthcare providers.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.