The effects of gender on diagnosis of psychological disturbance

Selina Redman, Gloria R. Webb, Deborah J. Hennrikus, Jill J. Gordon, Robert W. Sanson-Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This research examines the effect of patient gender on the detection of psychological disturbance. In Study 1, primary-care patients were requested to complete the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), a measure of nonpsychiatric psychological disturbance, prior to their consultation. The patient's GHQ score was compared with physician judgments about the level of disturbance in that patient (N=1913). Although there were a similar number of GHQ high scorers among males and females, the physicians classified significantly more females than males as disturbed. The doctors classified as disturbed a larger proportion of nondisturbed women than nondisturbed men. In order to explore the behavior of recent medical graduates, Study 2 examined the detection behavior of interns in an outpatient department with 384 of their patients. The interns behaved in a similar manner to the primary-care physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1991


  • diagnosis
  • medical education
  • primary care
  • psychological disturbance
  • sex stereotypes


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