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There is increased emphasis nowadays on the role of the general practitioner in preventive care for children. Accordingly, an analysis of the child's perception of the doctor and of the factors which influence and mould that perception are important. In New Zealand children's paintings have been used for such analyses. The present study looked at children's paintings of their family doctors in a Devonshire village. The findings show that boys are more likely than girls to depict their doctors as a gruesome or threatening character, and suggest that medical contact has little, if any, influence on character portrayal of doctors. Other factors that might influence character portrayal and are now thought worthy of detailed study, include television viewing patterns, personality, age, home background and artistic ability.