Newly Published
Education  |   December 2018
Influence of Sex and Body Language on Patient Perceptions of Anesthesiologists
Author Notes
  • From the Departments of Anesthesiology (K.T.F., L.K.D., C.J.K., J.F.P., A.J.B., A.M.K., J.L.H., S.R.C., E.C.N.), Public Health Sciences (G.R.L., J.Z.M.), and Neurosurgery (E.C.N.), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Supplemental Digital Content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are available in both the HTML and PDF versions of this article. Links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the Journal’s Web site (www.anesthesiology.org).
    Supplemental Digital Content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are available in both the HTML and PDF versions of this article. Links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the Journal’s Web site (www.anesthesiology.org).×
  • Portions of this work were presented previously as “The Role of Gender and Body Language on Patient Perception of Physicians” at the 2018 Annual International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, April 29, 2018.
    Portions of this work were presented previously as “The Role of Gender and Body Language on Patient Perception of Physicians” at the 2018 Annual International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, April 29, 2018.×
  • Submitted for publication May 17, 2018. Accepted for publication October 25, 2018.
    Submitted for publication May 17, 2018. Accepted for publication October 25, 2018.×
  • Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr. Forkin: University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 800710, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908. E-mail: ket2a@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu. Information on purchasing reprints may be found at www.anesthesiology.org or on the masthead page at the beginning of this issue. Anesthesiology’s articles are made freely accessible to all readers, for personal use only, 6 months from the cover date of the issue.
Article Information
Education / Education / CPD / Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Quality Improvement
Education   |   December 2018
Influence of Sex and Body Language on Patient Perceptions of Anesthesiologists
Anesthesiology Newly Published on December 26, 2018. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002527
Anesthesiology Newly Published on December 26, 2018. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002527
Abstract

Editor’s Perspective:

What We Know about This Topic:

  • Patient perception of physician competence may depend on physician sex and body language

What This Article Tells Us That Is New:

  • Actor anesthesiologists who maintained confident, high-power poses were considered smarter, more competent, more likely to be seen as leaders, and preferred by patients to care for a family member

  • Sex of the actor did not alter perceptions of competence

Background: Patient perception of physician competence is important. The role of body language and physician sex on patient perceptions has not been investigated. The authors hypothesized that patients perceive anesthesiologists displaying confident body language as more competent and that patients would prefer male anesthesiologists.

Methods: Two hundred adult patients presenting to the Preanesthesia Evaluation and Testing Center at the University of Virginia Health System were recruited to participate using consecutive sampling. Patients viewed four 90-s videos in random order. Each video featured a male or female actor displaying confident, high-power poses or unconfident, low-power poses. Each actor recited the same script describing general anesthesia. Patients were randomized (100 per group) to view one of two sets of videos to account for any actor preferences. Participants ranked each actor anesthesiologist on perceived confidence, intelligence, and likelihood of choosing that anesthesiologist to care for their family member. Participants also chose the one actor anesthesiologist who seemed most like a leader.

Results: Two hundred patients watched the videos and completed the questionnaire. Actor anesthesiologists displaying confident, high-power body language had greater odds of being ranked as more confident (odds ratio, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.76 to 2.92; P < 0.0001), more intelligent (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.13 to 2.18; P < 0.0001), more likely chosen to care for one’s family member (odds ratio, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.82 to 3.02; P < 0.0001), and more likely to be considered a leader (odds ratio, 2.60; 95% CI, 1.86 to 3.65; P < 0.0001). Actor anesthesiologist sex was not associated with ranking for any response measures.

Conclusions: Patients perceive anesthesiologists displaying confident body language as more confident, more intelligent, more like a leader, and are more likely to choose that anesthesiologist to care for their family member. Differences in patient perceptions based on sex of the anesthesiologist were not detected.