Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Use of social networking services (SNS) is on the rise. While many users sign in for personal purposes, it is not uncommon for professionals to connect over SNSs with clients, students, and patients. The present study was concerned with examining a particular group of professionals, medical doctors, and how their profiles on an SNS site related to potential patient's impressions of professionalism. Participants recruited from Utah State University (USU; n = 253) and through Survey Monkey (n = 39) were randomized to view one of six vignette Facebook profiles. Profiles were populated with solely professional material or personal material that was strictly healthy or included unhealthy behavior. Across each of these three conditions there was a male and female physician resulting in six experimental profiles. The First Impressions of Medical Professionalism (FIMP) scale was developed to measure medical professionalism where a working relationship has not been established (Cronbach's α = 0.95). There was a large and statistically significant main effect for profile type, F(2,288) = 56.380, p < .001, ηp2 = .286. Post hoc tests indicated that personal profiles that contained healthy behavior were rated as most professional followed by profiles with strictly professional content. Personal unhealthy profiles were rated as least professional. Additionally, female profiles consistently received higher professionalism ratings across all three profile types [F(1, 288) = 4.770, p = .030, ηp2= .017]. A medical doctor's SNS profile may augment a patient's perception of that physician's medical professionalism as long as the profile content upholds the decorum of the medical field.

Included in

Psychology Commons



Faculty Mentor

Melanie M. Domenech Rodriguez

Departmental Honors Advisor

Scott C. Bates