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The Relationship Between Race, Patient Activation, and Working Alliance: Implications for Patient Engagement in Mental Health Care

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between race and two key aspects of patient engagement—patient activation and working alliance—among a sample of African-American and White veterans (N = 152) seeking medication management for mental health conditions. After adjusting for demographics, race was significantly associated with patient activation, working alliance, and medication adherence scores. Patient activation was also associated with working alliance. These results provide support for the consideration of race and ethnicity in facilitating patient engagement and patient activation in mental healthcare. Minority patients may benefit from targeted efforts to improve their active engagement in mental healthcare.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Linda Collins, Erica Evans, Jessica McGlynn, and Zamal Frank for their assistance with data collection.

Funding

The projects reported here were supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Pilot Grant (PPO 13-395), VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Center for Innovation (CIN 13-416), and Center for Health Information and Communication Locally Initiated Project fund.

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Correspondence to Johanne Eliacin.

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Eliacin, J., Coffing, J.M., Matthias, M.S. et al. The Relationship Between Race, Patient Activation, and Working Alliance: Implications for Patient Engagement in Mental Health Care. Adm Policy Ment Health 45, 186–192 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-016-0779-5

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Keywords

  • Patient activation
  • Patient engagement
  • Mental health
  • African-Americans