Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 411–416 | Cite as

What Not to Wear: An Analysis of Outpatient Resident Attire

  • Jody LongEmail author
  • Larry Morton
  • Evi Taylor
Feature: Educational Case Report

The patient-physician relationship in mental health is an integral part of effective treatment. Therapeutic alliance hinges on establishing trust and empathic relationships with patients. Studies have shown that physician’s attire has an impact on the doctor-patient relationship, because it is one of the first elements that determine the patient’s impression of the physician [1]. Therefore, presenting a professional image is important to establishing effective relationships [2, 3]. The first impression of the physician is a complex dynamic. Factors that affect this dynamic include neatness, facial expression, body language, and even a smile [1, 4]. However, the debate is ongoing regarding therapeutic alliance [5, 6, 7].

During the personal growth phase of mental health in the 1980s and even earlier, mental health professionals discarded more formal attire in favor of casual attire [8]. Clergy also embraced more casual attire with contemporary services, and businesses offered casual...


Compliance with Ethical Standards


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arkansas State UniversityJonesboroUSA

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