News Release

Nearly Half of Young Women Report Negative Interactions with Health Care Providers

Among women ages 18-35 with a clinical visit in the past two years, more than four in 10 (46%) report experiencing a negative interaction with a health care provider, according to a new analysis of 2022 KFF Women’s Health Survey (WHS) data. These interactions included a provider either dismissing patients’ concerns, assuming something about them without asking, believing they were lying, blaming them for their health problems, or discriminating against them because of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or some other personal characteristic.

Similar rates of women in low-income households (45%), uninsured women (46%), and women with a disability or ongoing health condition (45%) experienced at least one of these negative interactions. Negative interactions with health care providers can lead to poorer health outcomes, distrust of the health care system, and health inequities.

Analysts also found some statistically significant differences in the experiences of men and women. Somewhat more women than men report that their health care providers either dismissed their concerns (29% vs. 21%), didn’t believe they were telling the truth (15% vs. 12%) or discriminated against them during their visit (9% vs. 5%).

Additional findings from the analysis include the following:

Menopause received little attention in clinical visits. Only one-third (35%) of women ages 40-64 say their health care provider ever talked to them about what to expect in menopause, ranging from 42% of women who have gone through menopause, 39% of those currently going through menopause, and 19% of premenopausal women.

Screening for social determinants of health is infrequent in clinical settings, despite their impact on the health and wellbeing of patients. While nearly three in five (58%) women who have visited a health care provider in the past two years say they were asked about the kind of work they do, only one in five (20%) were asked about their ability to afford food or their access to reliable transportation.

The KFF WHS is a nationally representative survey of 5,145 self-identified women and 1,225 self-identified men ages 18 to 64, conducted May 10 – June 7, 2022.

Read “Women’s Experiences with Provider Communication and Interactions in Health Care Settings” for more information.

We’ve also released the data note “Many Use Preventive Services, but Not All Women Are Aware of Insurance Coverage Requirements,” which presents findings from the 2022 KFF WHS on women’s receipt of cancer screenings and other preventive services as well as knowledge of insurance coverage requirements for these services.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.