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Date of Award
Restricted Thesis: Campus only access
Bachelor of Arts
There are extreme health disparities between Black and White Americans, resulting in Black
Americans having a 20% higher mortality rate and 4 year shorter life expectancy. There are many causes for this, with implicit racial biases of non-Black physicians being one of the most researched and cited causes documented in existing literature. However, there is very little research looking at how the race of the physician, in addition to the standard of care they provide, affects their patient’s perception of them, which can then affect their patient’s health, as their perception of their physician could influence factors such as their willingness to adhere to their physician’s instructions. In order to investigate how the physician’s race affects an individual’s perception of them, participants read two vignettes about two different physicians that are either both Black or both White, since Black and White Americans have the largest disparities in health outcomes. In one vignette, the physician administered an adequate standard of care and the other presented an inadequate standard of care. Participants then answered a series of questions about each physician that draw upon person perception scales. While the inadequate standard of care was rated poorly by all participants, we found that a participant’s preference for hierarchy, measured using a social dominance orientation scale, predicted their evaluation of the adequate physician. Individuals with a strong preference for hierarchy, regardless of race, evaluated the adequate Black physician more negatively than the adequate White physician.
Moynihan, Charlotte, "Understanding Racial Bias Toward Physicians: The Role of Patients’ Preference for Hierarchy" (2022). Honors Theses. 1604.