Children's Preferences Toward Doctors: A Pilot Study Focusing on Ethnicity and Gender

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Stephen Stelzner, Psychology


Although some research has been done to explore the effects of ethnicity and gender on children’s preferences for people in a general sense, these factors have not been adequately investigated in regard to children's attitudes toward their pediatricians. In this pilot study, 12 fifth and sixth graders of various ethnicities were given a survey which asked them to rate their comfort level with eight pictures of doctors. These pictures contained a male and female representation of the following ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and Caucasian American. Despite the small sample size, there were noticeable trends specific to the way in which children of different ethnicities rated the doctors. Gender also seemed to play a large role in the children's preferences, with most of the children preferring doctors of the same gender. These preliminary findings indicate the need for further research in this area.