RESEARCH ARTICLE


Relationship Between Gender and Clinician’s Subjective Experience during the Interaction with Psychiatric Patients



Federico Dazzi1, Laura Fonzi2, Mauro Pallagrosi3, Marina Duro3, Massimo Biondi3, Angelo Picardi4, *
1 Department of Human Sciences, LUMSA University, Rome, Italy
2 Italian Psychoanalytic Society, Rome, Italy
3 Department of Human Neuroscience, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
4 Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy


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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Dazzi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy; E-mail: angelo.picardi@iss.it


Abstract

Introduction:

The clinician’s subjective experience can be a valuable element for diagnosis and treatment. A few factors have been recognized that affect it, such as the patient’s personality, the severity of psychopathology, and diagnosis. Other factors, such as patient’s and clinician’s gender, have not been specifically investigated. The aim of this study is to explore the impact of gender differences on the clinician’s subjective experience in a large sample of psychiatric patients.

Methods:

The study involved 61 psychiatrists and 960 patients attending several inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. The clinicians completed the Assessment of Clinician's Subjective Experience (ACSE) questionnaire after observing each patient for the first time.

Results:

In multivariate analysis, higher scores on the Difficulty in Attunement (p < 0.001), Engagement (p<0.05), and Impotence (p<0.01) scales were significantly associated with female clinician gender, whereas higher scores on the Tension and Disconfirmation scales were significantly associated with male clinician gender. The scores on all ACSE dimensions were also associated with the severity of psychopathology.

Conclusion:

The findings suggest that clinician’s gender might affect a clinician’s emotional response toward patients. Specific attention to this issue might be useful in clinical situations, not only in terms of promoting gender-balanced teams but also in terms of enhancing self-observation in clinicians evaluating patients for the first time.

Keywords: Gender, Clinician’s subjective experience, ACSE, BPRS, Psychiatric diagnosis, Questionnaire.