Determinants of women's choice of their obstetrician and gynecologist provider in the UAE

Authors: Rizk, Diaa E. E.1; El-Zubeir, Margaret A.2; Al-Dhaheri, Alia M.3; Al-Mansouri, Fatima R.1; Al-Jenaibi, Houda S.2

Source: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, Volume 84, Number 1, January 2005 , pp. 48-53(6)

Publisher: Informa Healthcare

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The objective of this study is to evaluate women's priorities and preferences in selecting their obstetrician and gynecologist in a non-Western society. Methods. 

Consecutive sample of 508 patients attending the obstetric and gynecologic services of AL-Ain Hospital; AL-Ain; United Arab Emirates during 4 months was recruited. Participants were interviewed by using a structured 26-item questionnaire administered by means of face-to-face interview within 24 h of admission in the ward or before consultation in the outpatient clinic. Respondents were asked about their preferences, priorities, determinants of choice of their obstetrician and gynecologist, their view of his/her role as a medical provider, and their perception of importance of each of provider's characteristics and roles on a five-point Likert scale. Results. 

Four hundred thirty-nine (86.4%) participants preferred female physicians. Sixty-one (12%) had no preference and eight (1.6%) preferred male physicians. Reasons for female selection were privacy during intimate examination (89ยท1%) or counseling (68.8%), religious beliefs (74.3%), and cultural traditions (45.3%). Female preference was significantly associated with higher parity (P = 0.002), religion (P = 0.005), nationality (P = 0.01), occupation (P = 0.02), education (P = 0.04), and poor recognition of physician's role as professional/expert (P < 0.00001). Male preference was significantly associated with experience at previous encounter (P = 0.03), obstetric consultation (P = 0.04), and perceiving physician's role as skilled communicator (P = 0.01) or health educator (P = 0.04). Other physician characteristics affecting choice were professionalism, bedside manners, empathy, communication, competence, availability, and religion. Conclusions. 

Physician's attitude, professional profile, sex, and religious faith determine women's choice of obstetricians and gynecologists. Most women prefer female providers because of embarrassment during pelvic examination and reproductive counseling, religious beliefs, and sociocultural values.

Keywords: UAE; obstetrics and gynecology; physician characteristics; sex; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2: Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University,and 3: Department of Family Medicine, Al-Ain Medical District, Al-Ain, UAE

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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