, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 48-63
Date: 06 Jan 2009

Disparities in the provision of medical care: an outcome in search of an explanation

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This purpose of this paper is to review the literature on racial/ethnic disparities in the utilization and quality of care and the proposed explanations for these differences. First, the literature on racial/ethnic disparities in medical treatment is reviewed briefly with the goal of providing a sense of the range of procedures and conditions on which these disparities occur. Then, the possible role of physician/provider, patient, and health care system factors in contributing to these disparities is reviewed. Finally, suggestions for new or expanded directions for research in each of these three areas are given. The goal of the paper is to identify factors that might be particularly amenable to the type of research done by health psychologists.