Medical mistrust linked to race/ethnicity and discrimination

Researchers have found links between levels of medical mistrust, race/ethnicity, and people’s perception of discrimination.

In a new study involving people from California, researchers found that people’s mistrust of clinicians and healthcare systems correlates with race/ethnicity and perceived discrimination.

In the article, which appears in the Annals of Family Medicine, the researchers argue that tackling systemic racism and implicit bias in the healthcare profession will best be able to address these issues.

Mistrust and health discrimination

Research has shown that mistrust of medical professionals and medical systems results in worse outcomes for patients. It can interrupt effective patient-clinician relationships and make it less likely that a patient will divulge sensitive relevant medical information.

For example, in a recent meta-analysis that pooled the results of 47 studies, high levels of trust in a healthcare professional were linked to exhibiting better health behaviors, having fewer symptoms, and having a greater quality of life.

There can be many reasons that a person may distrust a medical professional or the healthcare system more broadly. For groups of people who have been historically marginalized based on their race or ethnicity, such mistrust may be borne out of experiences of discrimination.

Racial disparities in access to healthcare in the United States have been widely documented. These inequities affect many aspects of care, treatment, and health outcomes, including:……. Continue Reading…..

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