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Gender bias in sports medicine: an international assessment of sports medicine physicians’ perceptions of their interactions with athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and other physicians
  1. Yuka Tsukahara1,
  2. Melissa Novak2,
  3. Seira Takei3,
  4. Irfan M Asif4,
  5. Fumihiro Yamasawa5,
  6. Suguru Torii6,
  7. Takao Akama7,
  8. Hideo Matsumoto8,
  9. Carly Day9,10
  1. 1Waseda Institute for Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  2. 2Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
  3. 3Waseda Institute of Human Growth and Development, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan
  4. 4Department of Family and Community Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  5. 5Marubeni Health Promotion Center, Tokyo, Japan
  6. 6Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan
  7. 7Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan
  8. 8Japan Sports Medicine Foundation, Tokyo, Japan
  9. 9Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
  10. 10Sports Medicine, Franciscan Physician Network, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yuka Tsukahara, Waseda Institute for Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Shinjuku-ku 169-8050, Tokyo, Japan; yuka.voila{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Objectives To evaluate the difference between female and male sports medicine physicians regarding disrespectful attitudes and sexual harassment perceived from athletes, coaches, physicians, athletic trainers (ATs) and organisations/administrations.

Methods and study design anonymous survey was distributed to sports medicine physicians practicing in 51 countries. χ2 analysis was used to detect differences between female and male sports medicine physicians and logistic regression analysis was used to determine the independent variables that affect disrespectful attitudes and sexual harassment from sports participants.

Results 1193 sports medicine physicians (31.9% female) participated from 51 countries. The survey revealed that female physicians, compared with male physicians, perceive significantly more disrespect or have their judgement questioned more by the following categories: male and female athletes, male and female coaches, female physicians with more years of experience, male physicians (regardless of years of experience), male and female ATs and organisation/administrations (all p<0.05). The only category where the frequency of disrespect was perceived equally by male and female physicians was during their interactions with female physicians who have the same or lesser years of experience. Female sports medicine physicians noted more sexual harassment than male physicians during interactions with male athletes, coaches, ATs and physicians (all p<0.001). In the logistic regression, gender was a related factor for perceiving disrespect, especially from male coaches (OR=2.01) and physicians with more years of experience (OR=2.18).

Conclusions Female sports medicine physicians around the world experience disrespectful attitudes, questioning of their judgement and are sexually harassed significantly more often than male counterparts.

  • Physician
  • Female
  • Sports medicine
  • Sexual harassment

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request. The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author, Yuka Tsukahara, via email: yuka.voila@gmail.com.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request. The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author, Yuka Tsukahara, via email: yuka.voila@gmail.com.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors YT is the gurantor and performed statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript. YT, CD, MN, STorii, TA, FY and HM contributed planning and conducting the work. YT, CD, MN and STakei contributed with acquisition and interpretation of the data. YT, CD, MN, STakei and IMA contributed in drafting and revising the article.

  • Funding This study was financially supported by TOBE MAKI scholarship foundation (20-JC-006), whose support and encouragement are profoundly appreciated.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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