(HealthDay News) — Physicians with disabilities have a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing mistreatment from both patients and coworkers, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

Lisa M. Meeks, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from a nationally representative sample of 5851 physicians to determine whether physicians with disabilities are more likely to experience mistreatment in their workplace than physicians without disabilities. In this cohort, 178 physicians reported having a disability.

The majority of physicians with disabilities reported at least 1 type of mistreatment (64%), and they were more likely to experience all types of mistreatment, both from coworkers and patients, compared with nondisabled physicians.

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Physicians with disabilities were more likely than their nondisabled peers to:

  • Be subjected to offensive remarks or names related to their disability from coworkers (odds ratio [OR], 10.54) and patients (OR, 9.436)
  • Be threatened with physical harm by coworkers (OR, 8.026) and patients (OR, 2.601)
  • Be physically harmed by coworkers (OR, 17.97) and patients (OR, 6.510)
  • Receive unwanted sexual advances from coworkers (OR, 5.841) and patients (OR, 3.643).

“Our findings suggest the need for disability-focused anti-mistreatment policies and practices,” the researchers wrote.

Abstract/Full Text