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Some female surgeons face ‘stereotype threat’

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Reuters reports on a study that found that “Women in surgical training programs who feel that those around them endorse negative stereotypes about female doctors have poorer psychological health than others who do not feel a ‘stereotype threat.”’

However, “Not all women perceived a stereotype threat. And such perceptions did not affect the mental health of young women in non-surgical specialties, the researchers found.”

“Perceiving that others have a negative stereotype about you ‘is a general phenomenon that affects all sorts of people and circumstances, including white men doing athletic activities and ethnic minorities in academic achievement,’ said lead author Arghavan Salles, M.D., of Washington University, in St. Louis.”

“Stereotype threat is present in all fields, but the negative consequences appear to be less in other specialties than in surgery,” Dr. Salles told Reuters.

“The culture of medicine as a whole, particularly the training environment, should take stereotype threat into account,” Liselotte N. Dyrbye, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic,  told Reuters.  She wasn’t part of the new study. She added that having more women in leadership positions as role models for female medical students would help.




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