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J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 September; 98(9): 1532–1540.
PMCID: PMC2569718

Effects of perceived racism, cultural mistrust and trust in providers on satisfaction with care.


Discriminatory treatment of African Americans in healthcare is well recognized, yet the literature is unclear on the specific role that perceived racism and mistrust play in the patient-provider relationship. The purpose of this study was to test a mid-range theoretical model entitled Perceptions of Racism and Mistrust in Health Care (PRMHC). This model hypothesized that perceived racism influences cultural mistrust, which affects trust in providers--and these combined psychosocial aspects of healthcare affect satisfaction with the care received. One-hundred-forty-five African-American subjects participated in structured interviews to collect demographic and psychosocial data. Provider data was obtained through chart audits. In a group of low-income African Americans in two primary care clinics, perceptions of racism and mistrust of whites had a significant negative effect on trust and satisfaction. Perceived racism had both a significant, inverse direct effect on satisfaction as well as a significant indirect effect on satisfaction mediated by cultural mistrust and trust in provider. Structural equation modeling analysis supported the hypothesized theoretical relationships and explained 27% of the variance in satisfaction with care. The findings add to the existing literature by enhancing our understanding of the complex perspectives on trust and overall satisfaction with care among African-American patients. Results suggest that improving health outcomes for African Americans requires a broader understanding of cultural competence, one that addresses societal racism and its impact on provider-patient relationships.

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Selected References

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