Gender awareness in medicine: adaptation and validation of the Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale to the Portuguese population (N-GAMS)

Rita Morais, Sónia F. Bernardes, Petra Verdonk

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Health care professionals’ gender awareness has been presented as a mechanism to minimize gender biases in health. The present paper aimed to adapt and validate the Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale (N-GAMS, Verdonk et al. in Sex Roles 58:222–234, 2008. to the Portuguese population, also addressing some limitations of its original study, namely by: (1) testing the scale’s three-fold underlying structure and (2) extending the study of its criteria-related validity, by analyzing sex-related differences in medical students’ gender awareness and the associations between gender awareness and empathy and sexism. One thousand and forty-eight medical students (Mage = 22.90; 67.1% women) filled out the Portuguese version of the N-GAMS ( along with measures of Physician Empathy and Sexism. A Parallel Analysis and an Exploratory Factor Analysis suggested the presence of three factors. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis showed a good fit of the hypothesized three-factor structure: (1) gender sensitivity (n = 6 items; α =.713), (2) gender-role ideologies towards patients (n = 7 items; α =.858) and (3) gender-role ideologies towards doctors (n = 5 items; α =.837), with a positive association between the latter two (r =.570; p <.001). The also showed good criteria-related validity. Namely, as hypothesized: (1) more empathic students reported more gender sensitivity and lower endorsement of gender-role ideologies; (2) higher hostile and benevolent sexism were associated to higher endorsement of gender-role ideologies; and (3) higher hostile sexism was associated to lower gender sensitivity. Implications of the N-GAMS for research and interventional purposes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-477
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number2
Early online date25 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Empathy
  • Gender awareness
  • Gender sensitivity
  • Scale development
  • Sexism

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