Medical Assistant Psychological Safety Linked to Leader Inclusiveness in Ambulatory Care Settings

Bettie Coplan, Lesly Kelly, Hongwei Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Studies in hospitals show that leader behaviors and power distance between healthcare professionals influence psychological safety (PS). However, little research on PS in outpatient settings exists. The main objective of this study was to explore factors that influence the PS of medical assistants (MAs) working in ambulatory care. METHODS: A cross-sectional web-based survey consisting of items to assess PS and factors known to influence PS was distributed nationally to certified medical assistants (CMA) who obtained certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants. To evaluate relationships between variables, bivariate analyses and ordinary least squares regression were conducted on responses from those working in ambulatory care. RESULTS: From the 54,196 email addresses contacted, 7,467 individuals (13.8%) responded to one or more survey questions; of them, 4,674 reported working in ambulatory care. Similar to research involving other types of healthcare professionals, results showed that leader inclusiveness meaningfully predicted variation in PS (R2 = 0.21, p < 0.001). Power distance (as conceived in this study) was not associated with PS. CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to a growing body of literature showing that supportive leader behaviors positively impact PS. Greater attention to leadership development in health professions educational programs should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-25
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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