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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2010;154(51-52):A2898.

[Clothing make the doctor--patients have more confidence in a smartly dressed GP].

[Article in Dutch]

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Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Afd. Huisartsgeneeskunde, Groningen, the Netherlands.



To investigate the influence of the general practitioner's style of clothing on the patient's level of confidence in that doctor; is vanity a functional attribute for the GP?


Experimental comparative study.


4 photographic models representing 4 types of GP, namely the older male, younger male, older female and younger female GP, were each photographed dressed in 4 different styles of clothing (business wear, formal, semi-formal and casual). These photos were shown to evaluators with the question 'How much confidence do you have in this doctor?' The level of confidence was allocated a score on a numerical scale from 0 (no confidence) to 10 (complete confidence). There were 2 groups of evaluators: patients aged ≥ 65 years and professionals attending a symposium.


The clothing style had a significant impact on the level of confidence in the older and younger male doctor and in the younger female doctor. The assessment by elderly patients (n = 116) differed significantly from the assessment by professionals (n = 59). The professionals had a far more pronounced opinion on style of clothing than the patients did. Business wear and formal clothing generally inspired more confidence than casual clothing.


A GP's style of clothing affects the patient's initial level of confidence in that doctor. Vanity therefore seems to be a functional attribute for the GP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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