Mental Health in China after the Sichuan 5.12 Earthquake: An Empirical Study of Knowledge Transfer from Doctor to Patient

Philippines Conference Room

After the Sichuan 5.12 earthquake, many people in the disaster area suffered from mental health problems. To decrease morbidity from mental disease, the Sichuan authorities worked with diverse hospitals to establish a “three-level network of psychiatric prevention and treatment.” The goal was to disseminate knowledge about prevention and treatment for psychiatric conditions from doctors to recipients, especially regarding symptoms. How to disseminate such knowledge effectively and efficiently deserves study. Based on a sample of 146 doctor-recipient pairs from 52 hospitals in diverse areas of China (including Sichuan, Beijing, and Guangzhou), this study examines the impact of knowledge characteristics, the network status of the doctor, the network status of the hospital with which the doctor is affiliated, and the relationship quality between doctor and recipient on the effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge transfer from the doctor to patient. Findings indicate that high-status doctors are more effective in knowledge transfer. In addition, low-status hospitals were found to have a positive effect on knowledge transfer efficiency. In particular, results highlight the strong positive impact that the quality of the relationship between the doctor and patient has on both the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge transfer. Finally, findings suggest that the relationship between knowledge characteristics and knowledge transfer is partially mediated by the relationship quality between the doctor and the recipient.