Baring all: the impact of the hospital gown on patient well‐being

Morton, Liza, Cogan, Nicola, Kornfält, Susanna, Porter, Zoe and Georgiadis, Manos (2020) Baring all: the impact of the hospital gown on patient well‐being. British Journal of Health Psychology, 25 (3). pp. 452-473. ISSN 1359-107X

bjhp.12416.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (660kB) | Preview


The importance of personalized and dignified care is increasingly being recognized in health care policy and practice. Despite the known impact of clothing on social identity and self‐expression, the impact of hospital clothing on patient well‐being has been widely overlooked. Patients are often required to wear hospital clothing, commonly a backless gown, during medical procedures and surgeries. The impact of wearing patient clothing on well‐being, during this time of vulnerability, was explored.

A sequential multi‐method approach consisting of two studies.

Two studies were carried out to consider the impact of the hospital gown on well‐being among adults with and without chronic health conditions. The first study consisted of conducting in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews (n = 10) with adults living with a lifelong chronic health condition (congenital heart disease). The second study was a cross‐sectional online survey exploring adults' views (n = 928) and experiences of wearing the hospital gown.

Qualitative analysis identified the following master themes: (1) symbolic embodiment of the ‘sick’ role, (2) relinquishing control to medical professionals, and (3) emotional and physical vulnerability. Quantitative analysis of the online survey data indicated that adults often reported wearing the hospital gown despite a lack of medical necessity. Its design was considered to be not fit for purpose and lacking in dignity.

The implications of these findings for health policy and practice are discussed, emphasizing the importance of challenging cultural norms in health care since dehumanizing aspects of care, as symbolically represented by the hospital gown, may adversely impact on patient well‐being.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: congenital heart disease, hospital clothing, hospital gown, patient experience, person‐centred approach, psychologically informed medicine, surgery
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2020 14:05
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2021 13:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year