Finding Bias: Impact of Professional Attire and Occupation Status on Compliance with Medical Advice from Female Health Care Providers
Weber, Jordan Alexandra
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This study was conducted to expand upon previous findings from research that suggested a provocative self-presentation harms women in high-, but not low-, status jobs. In previous research, the target was presented in explicitly sexy and inappropriate clothing for a work environment, compared to more conservative clothing. In the current study, only minor changes in clothing were utilized to classify the outfit as provocative or conservative. This produced a more covert provocative target as the differences were minimal. Participants were randomly assigned to four different groups and were presented with an image of a women in either provocative or conservative professional attire. Each image was assigned as either: high status (i.e., “Doctor”) or low status position (i.e., “Medical Assistant”). Findings from this research study indicated that when a low status professional (Medical Assistant) dresses more provocatively they are trusted by patients significantly more than when dressed conservatively. Whereas perceptions of the high-status professional (Doctor) were not influenced by conservative or provocative clothing. Conducting this study with consideration of a healthcare context is valuable as physician-patient trust has been linked with medication compliance which directly influences health outcomes (Kerse, 2004; Schneider, Kaplan, Greenfield, & Wilson, 2004).