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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Perceptions of surgeons: What characteristics do women surgeons prefer in a colleague?

  • Author(s): Dusch, MN
  • Braun, HJ
  • O'Sullivan, PS
  • Ascher, NL
  • et al.

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© 2014 Elsevier Inc. Background Perceptions underlie bias and drive behavior. This study assessed female surgeons' implicit perceptions of surgeons, with a focus on the roles of sex and demeanor (communal = supportive, associated with women; agentic = assertive, associated with men)Methods: Electronic surveys were administered via the Association of Women Surgeons e-mail listserve to 550 post-training female surgeons. Each survey had one of the 4 possible scenarios that varied by surgeon sex (male/female) and surgeon demeanor (agentic/communal). Respondents rated their perception of the surgeon through 5 questions regarding preference and 5 questions regarding professional opinion (1 to 5 scale)Results: We received 212 surveys. In both preference and professional scores, female surgeons were rated significantly higher compared with their male counterparts (4.7 vs 4.4 and 4.3 vs 4.0, respectively). Communal surgeons were rated significantly higher versus agentic surgeons in both scores (4.7 vs 4.4 and 4.6 vs 3.7)Conclusions: Female surgeons demonstrated a significant preference for female surgeons and for communal surgeons.

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