The Influence of Attitudes Toward Male and Female Patients on Treatment Decisions in General Practice1

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Twenty-three physicians in general practice in the southwest region of Great Britain completed checklists on all patients consulted over approximately six of their consecutive daily surgeries. Twenty-two of the physicians were British Caucasian and one was of African decent. Data concerning patient gender, attitude toward the patient, and treatment decision for 115 consultations featuring psychological presentations were analyzed. Results indicated that, taken separately, patient gender and general practitioner attitudes did not predict treatment decisions. However, a significant interaction between these variables showed that attitudes had differential effects on treatment decisions made for male and female patients. These findings are interpreted within a social cognition framework.

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