Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Impact of race and sex on pain management by medical trainees: a mixed methods pilot study of decision making and awareness of influence.

Hollingshead NA, Matthias MS, Bair MJ, Hirsh AT. Impact of race and sex on pain management by medical trainees: a mixed methods pilot study of decision making and awareness of influence. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2015 Feb 1; 16(2):280-90.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information vaww.hsrd.research.va.gov/dimensions/

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions



Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Previous research suggests female and black patients receive less optimal treatment for their chronic pain compared with male and white patients. Provider-related factors are hypothesized to contribute to unequal treatment, but these factors have not been examined extensively. This mixed methods investigation examined the influence of patients' demographic characteristics on providers' treatment decisions and providers' awareness of these influences on their treatment decisions. METHODS: Twenty medical trainees made treatment decisions (opioid, antidepressant, physical therapy) for 16 virtual patients with chronic low back pain; patient sex and race were manipulated across patients. Participants then indicated from a provided list the factors that influenced their treatment decisions, including patient demographics. Finally, individual interviews were conducted to discuss the role of patient demographics on providers' clinical decisions. RESULTS: Individual regression analyses indicated that 30% of participants were reliably influenced by patient sex and 15% by patient race when making their decisions (P? < 0.05 or P? < 0.10). Group analyses indicated that white patients received higher antidepressant recommendations, on average, than black patients (P? < 0.05). Half of the medical trainees demonstrated awareness of the influence of demographic characteristics on their decision making. Participants, regardless of whether they were influenced by patients' demographics, discussed themes related to patient sex and race; however, participants' discussion of patient demographics in the interviews did not always align with their online study results. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest there is a considerable variability in the extent to which medical trainees are influenced by patient demographics and their awareness of these decision making influences.





Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.