The physician's appearance

Fam Med. 1991 Mar-Apr;23(3):208-11.


Little is known about the physician's appearance and its effect on patients' confidence and trust. This study reports on the attitudes of family physicians and their patients toward physicians' dress, sex, and age. The data suggest that while age and style of dress are important considerations in a patient's ability to trust a physician, sex of the physician is much less important. The majority of patients stated a preference for their doctors to be between 30 and 50 years old. It appears patients strongly prefer a male physician to dress in the traditional "professional" manner with a white coat, tie, shirt, and dress pants. The desirable "uniform" for the female physician was less clear, with variables of patient age, sex, education, and geographic location causing significant differences in patients' preferences regarding dress for female physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Women / psychology*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Sex Factors