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Perceived racial discrimination in health care and its association with patients' healthcare experiences: does the measure matter?

Hausmann LR, Kressin NR, Hanusa BH, Ibrahim SA. Perceived racial discrimination in health care and its association with patients' healthcare experiences: does the measure matter? Ethnicity & disease. 2010 Jan 1; 20(1):40-7.

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: Examine whether three measures of perceived racial discrimination in health care detect similar rates of discrimination and show similar associations with patients' healthcare experiences. DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study involving telephone surveys and medical record reviews. SETTING: Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System. PARTICIPANTS: 50 White and 50 African American veterans with diabetes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Three types of measures of perceived racial discrimination in health care were compared: single-item and multi-item measures assessing personal experiences of discrimination in healthcare settings, and a measure assessing general racism in the healthcare system. Associations of each measure with patient-reported problems with their medical care and receipt of recommended preventive screenings were also explored. RESULTS: More African American than White veterans reported perceived discrimination on all measures (personal discrimination, single-item: 42% vs 6%, P < .001; personal discrimination, multi-item: 42% vs 18%, P = .01; general racism: 74% vs 40%, P = .001). In the total sample, discrimination was more likely to be reported on the general racism measure than on the single-item (OR = 36.53, 95% CI = 7.95-167.89) or multi-item measures (OR = 20.28, 95% CI = 5.12-80.34) of personal discrimination. The multi-item measure of personal discrimination (OR = 3.96, 95% CI = 1.29-12.18) and general racism measure (OR = 3.61, 95% CI = 1.34-9.71) were significantly associated with patient-reported problems with their care. Receipt of recommended screenings was not associated with any of the discrimination measures. CONCLUSIONS: Different measures of perceived racial discrimination in healthcare settings yield different rates of discrimination and show variable associations with patients' perceptions of care.





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