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Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Sep;80(3):315-20. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.06.014. Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Gender bias in patients' perceptions of patient-centered behaviors.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



This research examines whether patient perceptions are equivalently associated with patient-centered behavior in male and female medical students, and tests the impact of a message emphasizing the importance of patient-centeredness on analogue patients' perceptions of male and female medical students' performance.


Sixty-one medical students interacting with standardized patients (SPs) were viewed by 384 analogue patients (APs). APs were randomly assigned to receive a message emphasizing the value of patient-centeredness or of technical competence, or a neutral message, and then evaluated the medical students' competence in the interactions. Students' patient-centeredness was measured using the Four Habits Coding Scheme and Roter Interaction Analysis System.


APs in the neutral and technical competence conditions gave higher competence ratings to more patient-centered male students, but not to more patient-centered female students. However, APs who received the patient-centeredness message gave higher competence ratings to both male and female students who were higher in patient-centeredness.


Making it clear that patient-centeredness is a dimension of physician competence eliminated a gender bias in evaluating performance.


Because patient perceptions are often used in evaluations, gender biases must be understood and reduced so both male and female providers receive appropriate credit for their patient-centered behaviors.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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