The confidence gap: Findings for women in plastic surgery

Melody Scheefer Van Boerum, Angela F. Jarman, Jacob Veith, Chelsea McCarty Allen, Kathleen A. Holoyda, Cori Agarwal, Courtney Crombie, Amalia Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: In a surgical field, where surgeons are, “sometimes wrong, but never in doubt,” lack of confidence can have detrimental effects on career advancement. In other fields there is evidence that a gap exists between women and men in the amount of confidence they display, and that confidence is a proxy for success. Methods: This study used the General Self Efficacy Scale and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale confidence surveys to assess self confidence amongst female trainees and attending plastic surgeons, to search for baseline characteristics associated with higher confidence scores. Results: Of the 73 participants, protective factors associated with increased female plastic surgeon confidence include age, parity, more advanced academic status, and mentorship. Conclusions: In order to matriculate into a surgical training program, there must be a measure of confidence and resiliency, but further work needs to be done to identify and address gender gaps in training and early academic careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Confidence
  • Gender differences
  • Gender disparity
  • Surgical education
  • Women surgeons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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