The comfort of family practice residents with health care of patients of the opposite gender

S. A. Paluska, F. J. D'Amico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Studies have shown that female and male residents see disproportionately few patients of the opposite gender. Such an imbalance may be detrimental to the quality of residency training. This study examined residents' levels of comfort in caring for patients of the same and opposite genders and their assessments of the adequacy of the number of same- and opposite-gender patients they saw during residency training. Methods: Data were collected from four family practice residency programs in the Midwest. All current family practice residents at the four sites surveyed were given a questionnaire asking them to rate their perceptions of the gender distributions of their patient panels and comfort with several areas of health care, some gender specific. The questionnaire used a five-point Likert scale. Results: Ninety-four surveys (83% response rate) were collected. Ninety-three percent of female residents reported seeing enough female patients, but only 54% reported seeing enough male patients. Seventy-six percent of male residents reported seeing enough male patients, but only 31% reported seeing enough female patients. More females than males (88% versus 48%) felt comfortable with women's health, but more males than females (70% versus 31%) felt comfortable with men's health. Male residents were significantly more comfortable than female residents in performing or managing prostate exams, testicular exams, and prostatitis. Female residents were significantly more comfortable with clinical breast exams and breast disease. Conclusions: Male and female residents perceive disproportionate experiences in their exposure to patients of the opposite gender. Significant differences between male and female residents were also apparent regarding their relative comfort in managing some gender-specific health care topics. These results have implications for residency education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-617
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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