Determinants of Sex Segregation Within Practice Settings

Irion, Glenn L.; Cossman, Jeralynn
March 2009
Acute Care Perspectives;Spring2009, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
inpatient, particularly acute care facilities, continue to be staffed predominantly with female therapists, whereas outpatient facilities are more male-dominated. Differences in the gender role attitude, desire for upward mobility, and job satisfaction are apparent in these groups. A mail out survey was used to examine differences among male and female inpatient and outpatient physical therapists regarding their reasons for accepting their current positions. Themes generated through qualitative research software included authority, autonomy, benefits, convenience, job demands, job security, the ability to make a difference, the nature of the position, pay, pay and benefits, professional growth, teamwork, and having a variety of patients. Analysis of the frequency distributions of the themes was performed for four groups: female acute care inpatient (FA), female outpatient (FO), male acute care inpatient (MA), and male outpatient (MO) physical therapists. This analysis (χ-square) indicated a higher than expected number of responses for autonomy in MO and a lower than expected frequency in FA. Convenience was higher than expected for MA. Pay was higher than expected for MO and teamwork was higher than expected for FA and lower than expected for MO. Three themes based on the codes were developed. Home-oriented was much more prevalent within FA. Job-oriented was the predominant category within MA and career-oriented in MO. Home and career-oriented were nearly equally prevalent in FO. These differences suggest that therapists with an interdependent basis of identify are more likely to practice in acute care inpatient clinics and those with an independent basis of identity in outpatient clinics. The more prevalent basis of identity within sexes of independent in men and interdependent in women appears to be an important driver of the segregation of men and women in different practice environments within the field of physical therapy.


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