Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine whether anecdotal claims of gender differences in the treatment of depression by general practitioners (GPs) existed in practice.
Method: Referral letters from 100 GPs to a specialized psychiatric depression clinic were analysed by word count and gender of referrer. Second, a Web-based survey of 517 participants examined the impact of GP gender in terms of levels of management nuances.
Results: The first study established that female GPs wrote distinctly longer referral letters. The second study identified that female GPs were seen as distinctly more caring over a range of parameters and identified the impact of some GP-patient gender differences.
Conclusions: Reasons why female GPs are viewed as more caring - and any impact on the management of those with a depressive disorder - would benefit from refined investigation.