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J Natl Med Assoc. 2012 Jul-Aug;104(7-8):351-9.

The role of trust in health decision making among African American men recruited from urban barbershops.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Psychology, PO Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284-2018, USA.



To examine factors within the patient-provider relationship that influence which role African American men aged 40-70 years prefer when making health care decisions.


We recruited 40 African American men from barbershops in the Richmond, Virginia, metropolitan area to participate in semistructured interviews. At the completion of each interview, participants completed a brief self-administered demographic survey. The semistructured interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim and then imported into a qualitative software program for organizing, sorting, and coding data. The principles of thematic analysis and template approach were used in this study. The survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


Trust was a major theme that emerged from the semistructured interviews. The men listed trust in the health care provider as the primary reason for choosing a collaborative or active role in the decision-making process. Within the theme of trust, 4 subthemes emerged: expertise, information sharing, active listening, and relationship length. Thirty-five out of the 40 men interviewed preferred an active or collaborative role in the decision-making process; only 5 preferred passive decision making.


Trust emerged as an important factor that influenced role preference for African American men when making health care decisions in the context of the patient-provider relationship. Future studies that help identify which other factors influence health care decision-making roles among African American men may have implications for addressing health disparities among this population and improve the quality of their health care.

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