Clothing make the doctor--patients have more confidence in a smartly dressed GP: Meer vertrouwen in netter geklede huisarts

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of the general practitioner's style of clothing on the patient's level of confidence in that doctor; is vanity a functional attribute for the GP?

DESIGN: Experimental comparative study.

METHOD: 4 photographic models representing 4 types of GP, namely the older male, younger male, older female and younger female GP, were each photographed dressed in 4 different styles of clothing (business wear, formal, semi-formal and casual). These photos were shown to evaluators with the question 'How much confidence do you have in this doctor?' The level of confidence was allocated a score on a numerical scale from 0 (no confidence) to 10 (complete confidence). There were 2 groups of evaluators: patients aged ≥ 65 years and professionals attending a symposium.

RESULTS: The clothing style had a significant impact on the level of confidence in the older and younger male doctor and in the younger female doctor. The assessment by elderly patients (n = 116) differed significantly from the assessment by professionals (n = 59). The professionals had a far more pronounced opinion on style of clothing than the patients did. Business wear and formal clothing generally inspired more confidence than casual clothing.

CONCLUSION: A GP's style of clothing affects the patient's initial level of confidence in that doctor. Vanity therefore seems to be a functional attribute for the GP.

Translated title of the contributionClothing make the doctor--patients have more confidence in a smartly dressed GP
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)A2898
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number51-52
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Clothing
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Women
  • Sex Factors

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