Gender awareness in medicine: adaptation and validation of the Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale to the Portuguese population (N-GAMS)

  • Rita MoraisEmail author
  • Sónia F. Bernardes
  • Petra Verdonk


Health care professionals’ gender awareness has been presented as a mechanism to minimize gender biases in health. The present paper aimed to adapt and validate the Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale (N-GAMS, Verdonk et al. in Sex Roles 58:222–234, 2008. to the Portuguese population, also addressing some limitations of its original study, namely by: (1) testing the scale’s three-fold underlying structure and (2) extending the study of its criteria-related validity, by analyzing sex-related differences in medical students’ gender awareness and the associations between gender awareness and empathy and sexism. One thousand and forty-eight medical students (Mage = 22.90; 67.1% women) filled out the Portuguese version of the N-GAMS ( along with measures of Physician Empathy and Sexism. A Parallel Analysis and an Exploratory Factor Analysis suggested the presence of three factors. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis showed a good fit of the hypothesized three-factor structure: (1) gender sensitivity (n = 6 items; α = .713), (2) gender-role ideologies towards patients (n = 7 items; α = .858) and (3) gender-role ideologies towards doctors (n = 5 items; α = .837), with a positive association between the latter two (r = .570; p < .001). The also showed good criteria-related validity. Namely, as hypothesized: (1) more empathic students reported more gender sensitivity and lower endorsement of gender-role ideologies; (2) higher hostile and benevolent sexism were associated to higher endorsement of gender-role ideologies; and (3) higher hostile sexism was associated to lower gender sensitivity. Implications of the N-GAMS for research and interventional purposes are discussed.


Gender awareness Gender sensitivity Empathy Sexism Scale development 



We would like to thank Cláudia Andrade and Andreia Ferreira for their help with the forward -backward translation of the N-GAMS items and instructions, and Marta Matos and Helena Carvalho for their statistical advice. This study was carried out following the ethical and deontological guidelines of ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL) and the Portuguese Board of Psychologists (Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses, 2011).


This study was funded by a Ph.D. Grant by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT/PD/BD/111187/2015) to Rita Morais, supervised by Sónia F. Bernardes and co-supervised by Petra Verdonk.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There were no financial or other relationships that lead to conflicts of interest in the development of this piece of research.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)LisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Social (CIS-IUL)LisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Amsterdam UMC, Department Medical Humanities, APH Research InstituteVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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