Psychiatrist-patient sexual contact: results of a national survey. I: Prevalence

Am J Psychiatry. 1986 Sep;143(9):1126-31. doi: 10.1176/ajp.143.9.1126.


In a nationwide survey of U.S. psychiatrists, 7.1% (N = 1,057) of the male and 3.1% (N = 257) of the female respondents acknowledged sexual contact with their own patients. Eighty-eight percent of the sexual contacts occurred between male psychiatrists and female patients. All offenders who had been involved with more than one patient were male. Forty-one percent of the offending psychiatrists sought consultation because of their sexual involvement with patients. The authors compare these results with those of previous surveys of psychiatrists and psychologists and discuss the need for addressing this problem within the psychiatric profession.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Professional Misconduct*
  • Psychiatry / standards*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires