Aim: Do different clothing styles have an influence on the doctor–patient–parent relationship and which kind of outfit is preferred by children and parents.
Methods: One hundred and seven children and 72 parents were visited by a paediatrician randomly wearing one of the three different outfits (casual, semiformal, formal) during a hospital stay. Parents and children between 6 and 18 years were then interviewed about their opinion by use of a semi-structured questionnaire, while children between 0 and 6 years were observed concerning their behaviour during the examination.
Results: Using a ‘likert scale’, the casual outfit received the best mark by 95.5% of parents (58.3% in the semiformal, 30.8% in the formal group). The degree of the parents’ trust in the paediatrician was comparable in all three groups. In children between 6 and 18 years, the casual dress was rated highest in 100%. In children between 0 and 6 years, the outfit had no significant influence on the patients’ behaviour.
Conclusion: Apparently, parents do not only tolerate a casual outfit, but even prefer it without any loss of trust. The same holds true for children between 6 and 18 years. For younger children, the paediatricians’ outfit seems to play no major role.