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Gender and Medical Socialization

Steven C. Martin, Robert M. Arnold and Ruth M. Parker
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 29, No. 4, Theme: Continuities in the Sociology of Medical Education (Dec., 1988), pp. 333-343
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136867
Page Count: 11
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Gender and Medical Socialization
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Abstract

Although both gender and professional socialization determine physicians' values, attitudes, and behaviors, the relative importance of each varies. Physicians' career paths demonstrate gender differences: women tend to choose primary care fields and rarely enter surgery, they are paid less and are less likely to be self-employed, and they are underrepresented in positions of authority within medical organizations and in academia. Data on practice style reveal striking similarities in physicians' attitudes toward patient care, knowledge, and clinical behavior, but recent work on physician-patient communication reveals important gender differences. These differences suggest that although medical socialization determines most aspects of practice style, a physician's gender can have an important influence on medical practice.

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