Obstetrician cognitive and affective skills in a diverse academic population

Lynn M. Yee*, William A. Grobman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Obstetrician cognitive and affective traits have been identified to have relationships with their patients' perinatal outcomes. The objective was to identify relationships between obstetrician demographic and practice characteristics and physician coping, self-efficacy, anxiety and ambiguity tolerance. Methods: Obstetricians at a single institution were surveyed using 5 validated scales measuring coping skills, tolerance for ambiguity, cognitive engagement and trait anxiety. Demographics and practice characteristics were assessed. Chi-square tests, t-tests, ANOVA and linear regression were used to assess relationships between physician characteristics and cognitive traits. Results: Ninety-four physicians participated. Women expressed greater proactive coping than men (p = 0.03) on the Proactive Coping scale. Providers with greater delivery volume expressed lower engagement in cognitive efforts (p = 0.03) on the Need for Cognition scale. Maternal-fetal medicine physicians demonstrated greater ambiguity tolerance (p < 0.01) and cognitive engagement (p = 0.012) than general obstetricians. Differences by specialty persisted after adjustment for potentially confounding factors. Conclusions: Practice type and specialty appeared to be related to several cognitive characteristics. It remains uncertain whether these differences are a cause or a consequence of specialty training and whether they result in differences in obstetric outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 10 2016


  • Coping skills
  • Medical education
  • Obstetrician cognition
  • Physician professional development
  • Tolerance of ambiguity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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