Communication between women and their health care providers: research findings and unanswered questions.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although much research has been carried out on communication between health care providers and patients, relatively few studies have investigated the effects of patient or provider gender on the communication process or its outcomes. Women use health services more than men and are more likely than men to report being influenced by health information in the media. No studies are available showing that physicians hold biases about male and female patients that translate into different communication patterns with each sex. Recent studies of verbal communication between patients and primary health care physicians show that female patients tend to ask more questions than men. Evidence that physicians are more likely to withhold information from female patients is not conclusive. Some evidence has been found that female physicians interrupt their patients less often than male physicians, provide more verbalizations of empathy, and provide clearer explanations in response to patients' concerns. Female physician-patient dyads might be expected to improve communication under certain circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Reports
StatePublished - Jul 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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