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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine companion animal owners’ perceptions of appropriate veterinarian attire and investigate potential associations between a veterinarian's attire and clients’ ratings of trust in, confidence in, and comfort with a veterinarian.

SAMPLE

449 pet owners.

PROCEDURES

Participants were randomly assigned to complete a questionnaire containing photos of a male or female model veterinarian photographed in 8 attire types (formal attire, white dress shirt with black pants, white casual shirt with khaki pants, surgical scrubs, white casual shirt with jeans, surgical scrub top with jeans, surgical scrub top with khaki pants, and white laboratory coat with khaki pants). Participants were asked to rate their trust in, confidence in, and comfort with the pictured individual on a response scale of 1 (low) to 7 (high), rank photos according to their preferences for attire, and provide input on the importance of attire and other appearance-related subjects. Attire and gender of photographed individual and participant demographics were investigated for associations with trust, confidence, and comfort scores.

RESULTS

Most (317/445 [71%]) respondents indicated veterinarians’ attire was important. Attire type was significantly associated with respondents’ trust, confidence, and comfort scores. Model veterinarian gender and participant education level were also associated with trust and comfort scores.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Veterinarians’ attire is a form of nonverbal communication that is likely to inform clients’ first impressions and may influence clients’ trust in, confidence in, and comfort with a veterinarian. Veterinary personnel and veterinary management should consider how attire and general appearance represent staff members or their practice.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine the effect of 3 diet history questions on the amount and type of diet-related information gathered from pet owners and to assess whether diet-related information obtained with each question in person differed from information obtained with a diet history survey.

SAMPLE

99 pet owners.

PROCEDURES

Participants' responses to 1 of 3 randomly selected diet history questions (“Tell me everything he [or she] eats throughout a day, starting first thing in the morning right through to the end of the day”; “What kind of food does she [or he] eat?”; or “What kind of foods does he [or she] eat?”) were recorded and coded for analysis. Participants completed a postinteraction diet history survey. Amount and type of diet-related information obtained were compared among responses to the 3 diet history questions and between the response to each question and the diet history survey.

RESULTS

The “Tell me…” question elicited a significantly higher total number of diet-related items (combined number of main diet, treat, human food, medication, and dietary supplement items) than did the “What kind of food…” or “What kind of foods…” questions. The diet history survey captured significantly more information than did the “What kind of food…” or “What kind of foods…” questions; there was little difference between results of the diet history survey and the “Tell me…” question, except that treats were more frequently disclosed on the survey.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings reinforced the value of using broad, open questions or requests that invite expansion from clients for gathering diet-related information.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association