We Know Why You Sometimes Lie to Your Doctor

Contributing Editor

Maybe you didn’t take your medicine as directed. Maybe you feel badly you never did get that mammogram or colonoscopy. There are many reasons you might lie to your doctors, but new surveys say the fear of being judged and embarrassed are two of the biggest.

Two separate surveys of 2,000+ participants revealed that more than half — and as many as 80 percent — have stretched the truth when meeting with a physician, including describing their diet and how much they actually exercise. More than one-third of respondents also said they chose not to speak up when they disagreed with their doctor’s recommendation.

When asked why, most people told researchers at the University of Utah and Middlesex Community College they wanted to avoid judgment or lectures or were simply too embarrassed to tell the truth. Survey respondents averaged 36 years old in one survey and 61 in the other. In both groups, younger females in poor health were most likely to keep medically relevant information from their doctors.

Source: Jama Network Open