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The Unique and Interactive Effects of Patient Race, Patient Socioeconomic Status, and Provider Attitudes on Chronic Pain Care Decisions.

Anastas TM, Miller MM, Hollingshead NA, Stewart JC, Rand KL, Hirsh AT. The Unique and Interactive Effects of Patient Race, Patient Socioeconomic Status, and Provider Attitudes on Chronic Pain Care Decisions. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2020 Oct 1; 54(10):771-782.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Compared to White and high socioeconomic status (SES) patients, Black and low SES patients receive less adequate pain care. Providers may contribute to these disparities by making biased decisions that are driven, in part, by their attitudes about race and SES. PURPOSE: We examined the effects of patient race and SES on providers' chronic pain decisions and the extent to which providers' implicit and explicit attitudes about race and SES were related to these decisions. METHODS: Physician residents/fellows (n = 436) made pain care decisions for 12 computer-simulated patients with chronic back pain that varied by race (Black/White) and SES (low/high). Physicians also completed measures assessing implicit and explicit attitudes about race and SES. RESULTS: There were three significant race-by-SES interactions: (a) For high SES patients, Black (vs. White) patients were rated as having more pain interference; the opposite race difference emerged for low SES patients. (b) For high SES patients, Black (vs. White) patients were rated as being in greater distress; no race difference emerged for low SES patients. (c) For low SES patients, White (vs. Black) patients were more likely to be recommended workplace accommodations; no race difference emerged for high SES patients. Additionally, providers were more likely to recommend opioids to Black (vs. White) and low (vs. high) SES patients, and were more likely to use opioid contracts with low (vs. high) SES patients. Providers' implicit and explicit attitudes predicted some, but not all, of their pain-related ratings. CONCLUSION: These results highlight the need to further examine the effects of patient race and SES simultaneously in the context of pain care.





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