Blacks' and whites' attitudes toward race and nativity concordance with doctors

Jennifer Malat, Michelle Van Ryn, David Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


While research shows that race is an important factor in patient-doctor interaction, very little is known about patients' attitudes toward doctors' race or nativity. This paper examines 2 specific components of these attitudes. We found that 16% of a Cincinnati, Ohio, sample believed that same-race doctors better understand their health problems, and 22% expected to be more at ease with same-race doctors. Blacks were more likely than whites to hold this belief and expectation, with the largest racial difference among those with college degrees. Looking at nativity, nearly one-third of the respondents believed that US-born doctors better understand their health problems and expected to be more at ease with US-born doctors. Again, blacks were more likely than whites to report a more positive view of US-born doctors compared to foreign-born doctors, with the effect of race varying by education. Future research should further explicate the nature of these attitudes and assess how these attitudes affect health care interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-807
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009



  • Education
  • Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs
  • Patient-physician relationship
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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