Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 308–317 | Cite as

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

  • Susan PerskyEmail author
  • Kimberly A. Kaphingst
  • Vincent C. AllenJr.
  • Ibrahim Senay
Original Article



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 



This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Collette Eccleston, Paul Han, and Colleen McBride for their insightful comments on an earlier version of this paper, and Isaac Lipkus and Ellen Peters for their valuable advice. The authors also thank Christina Lachance, Jalia Tucker, Wafa Khradouri, and Sabrina Mathenia for assistance with project preparation and data collection.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Persky
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kimberly A. Kaphingst
    • 2
  • Vincent C. AllenJr.
    • 3
  • Ibrahim Senay
    • 4
  1. 1.Social and Behavioral Research BranchNational Human Genome Research InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Washington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Zirve UniversityGaziantepTurkey

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