, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 553-558

Perceived discrimination and use of preventive health services

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the relation between perceptions of health care discrimination and use of health services.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of perceived discrimination in health care, its association with use of preventive services, and the contribution of perceived discrimination to disparities in these services by race/ethnicity, gender, and insurance status.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study of 54,968 respondents to the 2001 California Health Interview Survey.

MEASUREMENTS: Subjects were asked about experience with discrimination in receiving health care and use of 6 preventive health services, all within the previous 12 months.

METHODS: We used multivariate logistic regression with propensity-score methods to examine the adjusted relationship between perceived discrimination and receipt of preventive care.

RESULTS: Discrimination was reported by 4.7% of respondents, and among these respondents the most commonly reported reasons were related to type of insurance (27.6%), race or ethnicity (13.7%), and income (6.7%). In adjusted analyses, persons who reported discrimination were less likely to receive 4 preventive services (cholesterol testing for cardiovascular disease, hemoglobin A1c testing and eye exams for diabetes, and flu shots), but not 2 other services (aspirin for cardiovascular disease, prostate specific antigen testing). Adjusting for perceived discrimination did not significantly change the relative likelihood of receipt of preventive care by race/ethnieity, gender, and insurance status.

CONCLUSIONS: Persons who report discrimination may be less likely to receive some preventive health services. However, perceived discrimination is unlikely to account for a large portion of observed disparities in receipt of preventive care.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Preliminary results from this study were presented at the 2004 Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, and the 2004 Academy Health Annual Research Meeting in San Diego, CA.
Dr. Trivedi was supported by an institutional National Research Service Award (#5 T32 HP11001-15) from the Health Resources and Services Administration.