Gender differences in veterinarian-client-patient communication in companion animal practice

Jane R. Shaw, Brenda N. Bonnett, Debra L. Roter, Cindy L. Adams, Susan Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective-To describe the relationship between veterinarian and client genders and veterinarian-client-patient communication. Design-Cross-sectional descriptive study. Sample-Random sample of 50 companion animal practitioners in southern Ontario and a convenience sample of 300 clients and their pets. Procedures-For each practitioner, 6 clinical appointments were videotaped, and the resulting 300 videotapes were analyzed with the Roter interaction analysis system (RIAS) Linear regression was conducted to study the relationship between demographic factors, measures of veterinarian-client-patient communication, and gender of the veterinarian and client. Results-Female veterinarians conducted more relationship-centered appointments, provided more positive and rapport-building statements, talked more to the patient, and were perceived as less hurried or rushed, compared with male veterinarians. Clients were more likely to provide lifestyle-social information to female veterinarians. Same-gender veterinarian-client interactions were relationship centered and included client provision of more lifestyle-social information. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Gender influenced veterinarian-client-patient communication, and previously described physician gender differences in medical communication were largely replicated in the veterinary context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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