Effect of physician dress style on patient-physician relationship

J Adolesc Health Care. 1985 Nov;6(6):456-9. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0070(85)80053-x.


This study evaluates the effect of physician dress and other variables (i.e., sex of physician and patient, age, and type and site of visit) on patient-physician rapport. Three hundred eighty-six teens filled out a questionnaire, at the end of an office visit, which evaluated their attitudes regarding their physician and their preference for physician dress. The physicians alternated between very informal, informal, formal-white coat, and formal-suit/dress styles. Dress style made no statistical difference in patients' attitudes toward their physician. When asked what they preferred their doctor to wear 43% responded "makes no difference," 26% said "white coat," 14% said "pants and shirt," 10% said "jeans and shirt," and 4% said "suit and tie." Female patients were significantly more comfortable (3.6 versus 3.3, p less than 0.01) with female physicians. Male patients did not show a preference for a same-sex physician.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude
  • Clothing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians*
  • Sex Factors