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Clinical Systems Oral Health Research

Does gender matter in patient-provider interactions?

This summary is based on the article published in the Dental Clinics of North America: Interactions between patients and dental care providers. Does gender matter? (April 2013)


Key Messages

Gender differences exist both in verbal and nonverbal communication. Earlier research on the effects of patient-provider congruent relationships focused mainly on demographic similarity, whereas newer research argues that perceived similarities are more predictive of treatment outcomes.

When it comes to gender impact on communication in the dental office, research showed that both the dentist and patient applied traditional gender stereotypes to perceptions of dentists and perceptions of patients.

Pediatric patients prefer a gender match in their interactions with dentists. Adult patients interacting with gender-concordant dentists (male patient with male dentist and female patient with female dentist) differed in what they value about their dentist as well as in their self-perceptions from patients who interacted with gender-discordant dentists.

Patient-provider interactions are affected by the prevalence of certain gender-related issues, such as eating disorders, abuse, and the use of tobacco products. As well, these interactions are shaped by gender identities, gender stereotypes, and attitudes. 


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