How Patient-Centered Do Female Physicians Need to Be? Analogue Patients’ Satisfaction With Male and Female Physicians’ Identical Behaviors

Judith A. Hall, Debra Roter, Danielle Blanch-Hartigan, Marianne Schmid Mast, Curtis A. Pitegoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous research suggests that female physicians may not receive appropriate credit in patients’ eyes for their patient-centered skills compared to their male counterparts. An experiment was conducted to determine whether a performance of higher (versus lower) verbal patient-centeredness would result in a greater difference in analogue patient satisfaction for male than female physicians. Two male and two female actors portrayed physicians speaking to a patient using high or low patient-centered scripts while not varying their nonverbal cues. One hundred ninety-two students served as analogue patients by assuming the patient role while watching one of the videos and rating their satisfaction and other evaluative responses to the physician. Greater verbal patient-centeredness had a stronger positive effect on satisfaction and evaluations for male than for female physicians. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that the different associations between patient-centeredness and patients’ satisfaction for male versus female physicians occur because of the overlap between stereotypical female behavior and behaviors that comprise patient-centered medical care. If this is the case, high verbal patient-centered behavior by female physicians is not recognized as a marker of clinical competence, as it is for male physicians, but is rather seen as expected female behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-900
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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