Monday, April 24, 2006—Consistent with prior research, a new survey has found that African Americans are less likely than whites to trust their healthcare provider.

The results of the survey also hint that “experiences with health care providers and sources of medical care may be more important to trust in health care providers among African Americans than sociodemographics,” the researchers report in this week’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Trust -- the expectation that doctors will act in the best interest of the patient -- is a key part of the doctor-patient relationship. Although data have shown that trust in healthcare providers may be lower among African Americans compared with whites, limited information is available on factors that are associated with low trust in these populations.

To investigate, Dr. Chanita Hughes Halbert in the department of psychiatry at the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia and colleagues surveyed 432 non-Hispanic adult African Americans and 522 adult white subjects.

African Americans were much more likely than whites to report low levels of trust in healthcare providers (44.7 percent versus 33.5 percent). This was true even after consideration of sociodemographic factors, such as the provider’s race, prior healthcare experiences and the characteristics of where the patients received care, (i.e., doctor’s office or the ER).

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