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J Health Soc Behav. 2001 Dec;42(4):360-72.

Social distance and patients' rating of healthcare providers.

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University of Cincinnati, USA.


Racial inequity in the provision of healthcare is widely recognized. In this paper, I assess the role of social distance from healthcare providers in accounting for whites' higher rating of healthcare providers. Using data from the Detroit Area Study, I test whether having higher socioeconomic status, like most healthcare providers, and racial concordance with healthcare provider account for the gap in satisfaction between whites and African Americans. I find that socioeconomic status and racial concordance variables account for a portion of whites' higher rating of the respect shown by their healthcare provider. Racial differences in evaluation of time spent with healthcare provider are accounted for by socioeconomic status, but not racial concordance. As researchers explore the causes of and remedies for the racial disparity in use and evaluation of healthcare, the subtle and indirect effects of race on the patient-healthcare provider relationship must be considered.

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