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Prior studies have focused on the prevalence, causes and impacts of patients’ negative emotions during doctor-patient communication. However, to date, there is a paucity of research focusing on doctors’ emotion-regulating strategies and their effects on online medical consultation (OMC). In this connection, drawing on the concept of extrinsic emotion regulation, this paper analyzes empirically the doctors’ strategies in regulating patients’ emotions and examines the effects based on data from , one of the largest online medical consultation platforms in China. It is found that doctors deploy extensive discourse of relational work and diagnosis to regulate patients’ negative emotions. Comments from patients not only reveal the effectiveness of doctors’ strategies in alleviating negative emotions but also showcase that patients attribute the relief of their emotions to doctors’ expertise, attitude, response speed, and communication skills. All these findings contribute to theoretical insights into emotion regulation and have practical implications for online doctor-patient communication.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: emotion regulation ; emotion attribution ; online medical consultation (OMC)
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