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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Israeli Druze women's sex preferences when choosing obstetricians and gynecologists

Jonia Amer-Alshiek, Tahani Alshiek, Yifat Amir Levy, Foad Azem, Ami Amit, Hadar Amir
Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 2015, 4: 13
26034576

BACKGROUND: Consideration and better understanding of patients' needs on the part of the healthcare system might help increase the number of people seeking necessary medical care. Many studies have been conducted on patients' preferences in choosing their health care provider, but the majority of them were conducted in modern western societies, establishing a need to explore other populations. The present study was performed in the Israeli Druze community which is composed of a uniquely traditional and religious population. We assessed the sex preference of Israeli Druze women regarding obstetricians/gynecologists, and identify other features that affect their choice.

METHOD: We conducted a cross-sectional study that included 196 Israeli Druze women who anonymously completed a 36-item questionnaire between January-July, 2011.

RESULTS: Most (63.8%) of the responders preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists, while 74.5% had no sex preference for their family physicians. 68.6% of the religious women preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists as compared to 51.76% of those women who self-identified as secular. Most of the women (65%) preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists for intimate procedures, such as pelvic examination and pregnancy follow-up. The main reasons given were: feeling more comfortable with a female practitioner (69.7%), the belief that females are more gentle (56.6%), and being more embarrassed with male obstetricians/gynecologists (45.4%). Three factors were associated with the responders' preferences for female obstetricians/gynecologists: their age and religious status, and the sex of their regular obstetricians/gynecologists. Women who preferred a female obstetrician/gynecologist assigned a lesser weight to the physician's knowledge when choosing them. Older and religious women as well as those who attributed less weight to the physician's professional knowledge were more likely to prefer a female obstetrician/gynecologist.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of responders to our survey (Israeli Druze women), like those in other communities where religiousness and modesty are deeply rooted, prefer female obstetricians/gynecologists, with the overwhelming reasons given being feeling more comfortable and less embarrassed with females, and the notion that female obstetricians/gynecologists are more gentle during intimate procedures.

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