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Soc Sci Med. 2004 Dec;59(11):2233-44.

Patient satisfaction and ethnic identity among American Indian older adults.

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1
Department of Sociology, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA. eva.garroutte@bc.edu <eva.garroutte@bc.edu>

Abstract

Work in the field of culturally competent medical care draws on studies showing that minority Americans often report lower satisfaction with care than White Americans and recommends that providers should adapt care to patients' cultural needs. However, empirical evidence in support of cultural competence models is limited by reliance upon measurements of racial rather than ethnic identity and also by a near-total neglect of American Indians. This project explored the relationship between ethnic identity and satisfaction using survey data collected from 115 chronically ill American Indian patients >or=50 years at a Cherokee Nation clinic. Satisfaction scores were high overall and comparable to those found in the general population. Nevertheless, analysis using hierarchical linear modeling showed that patients' self-rated American Indian ethnic identity was significantly associated with satisfaction. Specifically, patients who rated themselves high on the measure of American Indian ethnic identity reported reduced scores on satisfaction with health care providers' social skill and attentiveness, as compared to those who rated themselves lower. Significant associations remained after controlling for patients' sex, age, education, marital status, self-reported health, wait time, and number of previous visits. There were no significant associations between patients' American Indian ethnic identity and satisfaction with provider's technical skill and shared decision-making. Likewise, there were no significant associations between satisfaction and a separate measure of White American ethnic identity, although a suggestive trend was observed for satisfaction with provider's social skill. Our findings demonstrate the importance of including measures of ethnic identity in studies of medical satisfaction in racial minority populations. They support the importance of adapting care to patient's cultural needs, and they highlight the particular significance of interpersonal communication for patient satisfaction among American Indians. Results will be of special interest to health researchers, clinicians, and policy makers working in fields related to minority health.

PMID:
15450700
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.03.032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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