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Data_of_study_You never get a second chance First impressions of physicians depend on their body postures

Grün, Felix C.; Westfal, Viola; Heibges, Maren; Feufel, Markus A.

In this study, we focus on the impact of posture on patients’ first impressions of a physician. In contrast to previous studies, we not only focus on physicians’ leadership skills, but just as much on their interpersonal and communicative skills. In an online survey, we obtained ratings of 167 participants assessing 4 sets of photographs. Each included pictures of 4 physicians (2 females) in two open or closed positions. We measured the physician’s skills, introducing items focussing on leadership, physician’s typical professional roles (derived from the CanMEDS framework), and the Shared Decision Making (SDM) process. The results show that male physicians were rated more positively in open postures. Female physicians received similar ratings, but only for leadership and medical expertise. Communicative and interpersonal skills received less favourable evaluations concerning open than closed postures. Our findings show that body postures shape the first impressions of a physician. In addition, these effects differ based on physician gender, which may be related to gender stereotypes and warrants further research.