Felicia Raybourn1 and Danielle Hemingson1 ; 1Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas

Appearance is the first piece of information available that can powerfully influence perception. Credibility, which includes trust, has been shown to be impacted by a person’s somatotype. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine students, faculty, and staff perception of trust of a physician based on the physician’s somatotype. METHODS: A survey was administered to1,631students, faculty, and staff at a small Midwestern university using Formstack. Images of an endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph somatotype were displayed along with a 5-point Likert scale with 1 meaning “would not trust this physician” to 5 meaning “would completely trust this physician”. Participants were asked to select the answer that best correlated with the perceived trust they would have in a physician who had the somatotype shown. RESULTS: There were 1,631 emails sent with 333 (20%) responses collected. Of the 333 respondents, 189 (57%) were students, 77 (23%) were staff, and 67 (20%) were faculty. Perceptions of trust were analyzed using an ANOVA test for each somatotype by status: students, faculty, and staff. The endomorph somatotype showed a p-value of less than .001, mesomorph showed a p-value of .02, and ectomorph showed a p-value of 0.45. Comparisons were made between students and staff, students and faculty, and staff and faculty for each somatotype. For the endomorph somatotype, faculty and staff (p-value < .57) had no significant difference whereas students and faculty (p-value < .02) and students and staff (p-value < .001) perceived trust differently. For the mesomorph somatotype, faculty and staff (p-value < .48) and students and staff (p-value < .40) had no significant difference whereas students and faculty (p-value < .02) perceived trust differently. For the ectomorph somatotype, no groups perceived trust in the physician differently (p-value < .45). CONCLUSION: This study indicated that the students surveyed had less trust in the physician with the endomorph somatotype, trusted the physician with the mesomorph somatotype most, and were indifferent to the ectomorph somatotype when compared to faculty and staff. When comparing the faculty and staff groups to each other, they both shared similar perceptions towards all somatotypes. Further research is needed to determine which somatotype is preferred for a physician regarding patient trust.

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