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Sex of provider as a variable in effective genetic counseling


  • Zare, Nancy
  • Sorenson, James R.
  • Heeren, Timothy


Selected aspects of the interaction in genetic counseling sessions, as reported by women patients seen by a female provider, were compared to the interaction reported by women patients seen by a male provider. Although counseling sessions were comparable in terms of length of time, significantly more in-depth discussion of selected medical and genetic topics was reported when the provider was female; more discussion was reported of medical and genetic topics which patients came to counseling to discuss when the provider was female; and women patients reported a greater willingness to raise issues of concern in counseling when the provider was female. Women patients also were more likely to report the explanations offered by female providers as clearer than those offered by male providers. In general the data suggest that women patients in genetic counseling receive a somewhat different and less comprehensive type of counseling when seen by a male as opposed to a female provider. Analysis suggests that the differences observed may be due less to variation between male and female providers in terms of professional preparation than to variation in how male as opposed to female providers orient themselves to women patients, as well as to how women patients orient themselves to female as opposed to male providers.

Suggested Citation

  • Zare, Nancy & Sorenson, James R. & Heeren, Timothy, 1984. "Sex of provider as a variable in effective genetic counseling," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 671-675, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:19:y:1984:i:7:p:671-675

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