Women's Gender Schemas for Obstetrician-Gynecologists
Buck, Katherine S.
The current picture of women's healthcare in the U.S. includes rising malpractice rates, long hours and on-call schedules for obstetrician-gynecologists. As a result, one in seven OB-GYNs has stopped practicing obstetrics. One overlooked factor that may be exacerbating the OB-GYN shortage is a sizable decline in men entering the field. The problem of sex imbalance may be occurring because men are being actively discouraged from specializing in OB-GYN. This could be in part because of concerns that women are not interested in seeing a male OB-GYN. Indeed, results of studies that examine sex preference in choice of OB-GYN providers support that women exhibit a preference for a female OB-GYN provider approximately 50% of the time. A key process that may play an important role in women's preference for a female OB-GYN is their gender role schema. Gender role schemas may influence what women expect from OB-GYNs of a specific sex, and therefore influence preference. The two studies conducted for this thesis sought to investigate the content of women's schemas for male and female OB-GYNs and their impact on evaluation of OB-GYN providers. In study one, 96 college women were randomly assigned to describe what they believed were the typical characteristics of a male or female OB-GYN and describe what happens during a typical visit to a male or female OB-GYN's office. Results supported that women were more likely to describe male OB-GYNs as awkward, chi[superscript]2 (1) = 11.2, p < .001, and female OB-GYNs as easy to talk to, chi[superscript]2 (1) = 7.2, p < .005, and knowledgeable, chi[superscript]2 (1) = 6.8, p < .005. Additionally, women were more likely to report the use of a chaperone, chi[superscript]2 (1) = 7.0, p < .005, and making small talk, chi[superscript]2 (1) = 4.6, p < .005, during visits with male OB-GYNs. Thus, women held more positive schemas for female OB-GYNs and male providers were regarded more negatively (e.g., as awkward or needing a chaperone in the room). Based on the results from study one, male gender schema consistent and female gender schema consistent narratives of a typical OB-GYN visit were developed. Then, a total of 126 women were randomly assigned to listen to audio recording of visits to either two male OB-GYNs or two female OB-GYNs. In both conditions, one OB-GYN engaged in male schema consistent behavior and one OB-GYN engaged in female schema consistent behavior. Results supported that providers who engaged in female consistent behavior were regarded more positively (i.e., they were rated as having more positive attributes, participants were more satisfied with their care, and participants were more likely to see that provider again), whether they were male or female. In addition, females who engaged in male schema consistent behaviors were rated more negatively than males who engaged in the same behavior. These results support that women's gender schemas may be influencing satisfaction with providers. Results suggested that women did not necessarily prefer female providers, but rather they were responding to the behaviors and characteristics they associated with female providers. Therefore, efforts should be made to train OB-GYN providers of both sexes in this interactional style.
Buck, Katherine S.. (January 2011). Women's Gender Schemas for Obstetrician-Gynecologists (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/3529.)
Buck, Katherine S.. Women's Gender Schemas for Obstetrician-Gynecologists. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2011. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/3529. April 18, 2019.
Buck, Katherine S., “Women's Gender Schemas for Obstetrician-Gynecologists” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2011).
Buck, Katherine S.. Women's Gender Schemas for Obstetrician-Gynecologists [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2011.
East Carolina University