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Sexual orientation and associated characteristics among north american academic psychiatrists

Klitzman, Robert L.; Bodkin, J. Alexander; Pope Jr., Harrison G.

We mailed questionnaires inquiring about a range of personal and professional attributes to 972 North American psychiatrists at five leading medical schools in the United States and Canada. Of these, 49% (435 psychiatrists) responded. Of the respondents, 90.9% reported being exclusively heterosexual, 3.5% predominantly heterosexual, and 5.6% bisexual/homosexual. Analyses were performed to assess the relationship between sexual orientation and other variables. We found that exclusive heterosexuals were more likely than other psychiatrists to be Jewish (p = .002), to have first‐degree relatives with psychiatric illness (p =.015), and to have conducted research after residency training (p = .034). Exclusively heterosexual psychiatrists were less likely to have used recreational drugs (p = .025), or to prescribe psychotropic medications to none of their patients (p = .017). Sexual orientation was not correlated with a variety of other personal and professional characteristics. The findings suggest that gay men and lesbians are represented within psychiatry at rates comparable to their estimated representation in society. Moreover, the data invite several hypotheses—for example, that medical students may be drawn to psychiatry for specific reasons such as feeling marginalized due to being gay or bisexual.

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Also Published In

Title
The Journal of Sex Research
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499809551944

More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychiatry
Published Here
June 5, 2020