Impact of Pediatricians' Attire on Children and Parents

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To evaluate perceptions of a pediatrician's attire, 50 children and parents in an outpatient facility were shown five photographs of a female or a male physician dressed differently (formal to informal). A list of positive and negative attributes was presented to the parents and children who were to match each picture to the attributes.Parents had a strong positive preference for the formally dressed female (short white coat and skirt), and the formally dressed male (short white coat and tie). More than 50% of the parents least preferred the most informal attire. Children had no clear preferences for males and preferred the female in the blouse and skirt. Children assigned negative attributes to informal attire but not to the same degree as did their parents. This study demonstrates that parents have stronger preferences than do their children. Although children had no strong positive preferences, they may feel negatively about informal attire.

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