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'What's in a face? The role of doctor ethnicity, age and gender in the formation of patients' judgements: an experimental study

Shah, R and Ogden, J (2006) 'What's in a face? The role of doctor ethnicity, age and gender in the formation of patients' judgements: an experimental study Patient Education and Counseling, 60 (2). pp. 136-141.

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Background: Research has shown that doctor's make judgements about patients on the basis of their demographic characteristics. Little is known about how patients judge their doctors. Aim: The present study aimed to explore the impact of a doctor's ethnicity, age and gender on patients' judgements in the setting of a general practice consultation. Methods: The study involved an experimental factorial design using vignettes with patients receiving one of eight photos of a doctor who varied in terms of ethnic group (Asian versus White), age (older versus younger) and gender (male versus female). Six general practices in South West London took part and 309 patients (response rate = 77%) rated the doctor in terms of the expected behaviour of the doctor, the expected behaviour of the patient and the patient ease with the doctor. Results: The results showed that in terms of the impact of ethnic group, the Asian doctor and White doctor received comparable ratings for most questions; however, the Asian doctor was rated as being more likely to explore emotional aspects of health than the White doctor. Differences for age and gender were more profound. In particular, both the younger doctor and the female doctor were judged to have a better personal manner, better technical skills, better explanation skills, to be more likely to explore emotional aspects of health and empower the patient. Patients also stated that they were more likely to have faith in their diagnoses, advice and to comply with treatment and preferred both the younger and female doctors for a physical examination. In addition, younger doctors were deemed to be more likely to refer a patient to see a hospital specialist and female doctors were seen to be more likely to suggest complementary therapy. Conclusion: A doctor's age and gender have a stronger impact on a patient's judgements than their ethnicity.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Shah, R
Ogden, J
Date : 1 February 2006
DOI : 10.1016/j.pec.2004.12.005
Additional Information : NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Patient Education and Counseling. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Patient Education and Counseling, 60(2), February 2006, DOI 10.1016/j.pec.2004.12.005.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 12 Aug 2014 17:30
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:48

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