Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Jeanine Parolini

Second Reader

Mary Whitman

Third Reader

Wallace Boeve


Leadership for any medical profession is important for ongoing success and developing a succession of leaders for a profession is vital, including the Physician Assistant (PA) profession. Developing leadership self-efficacy (LSE) in PA students requires participation in leadership experiences such as educational or experiential leadership development. Knowing that individuals with higher levels of LSE take on leadership roles more frequently than those with lower levels of LSE, developing LSE in PA students will help to produce more leaders for the profession. The purpose of this study was to examine what potential differences exist between male and female PA students in their leadership experiences and LSE. In this quantitative, non-experimental study, a cross-sectional survey was utilized to capture data from 121 current PA students in six PA programs located in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. A t-test was used to evaluate the differences in educational leadership experiences, experiential leadership experiences, leaderships self-efficacy and gender. Multiple regression analysis was used to identify which variable (educational leadership experiences, experiential leadership experiences, or gender) was a predictor of LSE. Data analysis revealed that female PA students had lower LSE levels when compared to male PA students, despite having similar educational and experiential leadership experiences. In this study, gender and educational leadership experiences were found to be predictors of leadership self-efficacy in PA students. The results of this study suggest that female PA students would benefit from educational leadership experiences to help increase LSE and their potential of assuming leadership positions in the future. The results also suggest the importance of including educational leadership experiences within PA education.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation