To investigate the physician sex preference of male adolescents and to explore the factors that may moderate this preference.
An adolescent clinic associated with a large pediatric hospital centrally located within a metropolitan Midwestern city.
The 67 male adolescent patients in the convenience sample ranged in age from 10 to 18 years, and 43.3% were African American, 40.3% were white, and 16.4% were classified as "other." More than half of the subjects reported being raised by a single mother with just enough money to meet their basic needs.
Main Outcome Measures
Among the variables investigated were expressed physician sex preference and participant connectedness to a male and/or female parent or role model.
More subjects reported a preference for a female physician (50.8%) than for a male physician (39.4%) when the examination was a physical or medical checkup. The preference for a female physician during a genital examination was also higher (49.2%) than preference for a male physician (39.1%). Analysis of variance revealed significant ethnic group differences in physician sex preference (F2,64 = 12.02, P<.001). African American males had a significantly higher preference for a female physician than did whites or those who identified themselves as other. Neither socioeconomic status nor age demonstrated a statistically significant effect.
This preliminary investigation has provided evidence that ethnicity of the adolescent and the sex of the examining physician may contribute significantly to the success of the health care interaction.