Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 308-317

First online:

Effects of Patient-Provider Race Concordance and Smoking Status on Lung Cancer Risk Perception Accuracy Among African-Americans

  • Susan PerskyAffiliated withSocial and Behavioral Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute Email author 
  • , Kimberly A. KaphingstAffiliated withWashington University in St. Louis
  • , Vincent C. AllenJr.Affiliated withUniversity of California, Los Angeles
  • , Ibrahim SenayAffiliated withZirve University

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Communication of lung cancer risk information between providers and African-American patients occurs in a context marked by race-based health disparities.


A controlled experiment assessed whether perceived physician race influenced African-American patients’ (n = 127) risk perception accuracy following the provision of objective lung cancer risk information.


Participants interacted with a virtual reality-based, simulated physician who provided personalized cancer risk information.


Participants who interacted with a racially discordant virtual doctor were less accurate in their risk perceptions at post-test than those who interacted with a concordant virtual doctor, F(1,94) = 4.02, p = .048. This effect was amplified among current smokers. Effects were not mediated by trust in the provider, engagement with the health care system, or attention during the encounter.


The current study demonstrates that African-American patients’ perceptions of a doctor’s race are sufficient to independently impact their processing of lung cancer risk information.


Lung cancer Risk perception Race concordance Smoking Virtual reality