Selection of a dialysis modality for persons with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) has important lifestyle and occupational implications. The factors affecting modality choice remain unclear, resulting in a low rate of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in the United States compared with other countries. A national survey of 271 US nephrologists was conducted from June 1997 to June 1998 to assess the relative importance of nonclinical and clinical factors related to dialysis modality selection for patients with ESRD. Hypothetical patient scenarios were randomly assigned to nephrologists to determine their recommendation for dialytic therapy based on patient demographic, clinical, and social factors. US nephrologists were more likely to recommend PD for men with ESRD compared with women (39% versus 33%; P: < 0.05; adjusted odds ratio, 1.44; 95% confidence interval, 1.15 to 1.80), as well as for patients with good compliance (adjusted odds ratio, 11.80; 95% confidence interval, 9.29 to 15.01), weight less than 200 lb (adjusted odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.8 to 2.9), residual renal function (adjusted odds ratio, 2.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.71 to 2.70), absence of diabetes (adjusted odds ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.5), and living with family (adjusted odds ratio, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 2.1). Nephrologists in practice for 11 or more years were less likely to recommend PD. The association of male sex with PD therapy suggests a potential bias or sensitivity to women's perception of body image. Race was not associated with PD recommendations after controlling for other demographic and clinical characteristics. Because the incident US ESRD population is increasingly characterized by factors associated with not selecting PD (diabetes, obesity, malnourishment, living alone, and substance abuse problems), our results suggest that PD use may decrease over time.