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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Roger Katz

First Committee Member

Roseann Hannon

Second Committee Member

Kenneth Beauchamp


This study investigated the effects of gender, both patient and physician, on how a medical complaint is perceived and acted upon by health professionals. A 2 x 2 factorial design was used, with gender of physician and patient as the two factors, respectively. The participants were physicians (M.D.s) who were recruited by approaching local hospitals/clinics and requesting their participation in the research. They were asked to respond to a patient vignette and a questionnaire assessing the physician's beliefs about and intentions toward the patient. Using a 2 x 2 ANOVA with a specified .05 significance level, no statistically significant differences were found in the assessment of the perceived seriousness of a medical complaint, in the aggressiveness of the work-up provided, and in the diagnoses given to patients. The findings from this study are of value in exploring the existence of gender bias in the medical setting. The absence of gender bias, as it occurred in this study, is an encouraging finding for members of the health care community.



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