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Racial Bias Related to Lack of Access to Healthcare

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Mele, P. & Fuertes, J. N. (2017, May). Article summary: Racial bias related to lack of access to healthcare. [Web article]. Retrieved from: http://societyforpsychotherapy.org/racial-bias-access-healthcare

Article Reviewed:

Leitner, J. B., Hehman, E., Ayduk, O., & Mendoza-Denton, R. (2016). Blacks’ death rate due to circulatory diseases is positively related to Whites’ explicit racial bias a nationwide investigation using project implicit. Psychological Science, 27(10), 1299-1311. DOI: 10.1177/0956797616658450

Previous research has demonstrated a clear link between perceived racial discrimination and negative health outcomes for those perceiving and experiencing discrimination. The researchers studied the effect of “actual” racial biases on health outcomes of Blacks (i.e., African-Americans).

They measured the predictive strength of Whites’ implicit and explicit racial biases on Blacks’ access to affordable health care and death rate due to circulatory disease. The researchers hypothesized that Blacks would have lower access to affordable healthcare and die more frequently from circulatory disease if they lived in a community where Whites harbored more implicit and explicit racial biases.

Their hypotheses were partially confirmed: Blacks’ had less access to affordable healthcare and died more frequently from circulatory disease in communities where Whites’ demonstrated higher explicit racial biases. Whites’ degree of implicit racial biases did not predict neither Blacks’ access to affordable healthcare nor their death rate due to circulatory disease. In the communities where Whites’ harbored more explicit racial biases, the rate of death by circulatory disease was higher for both Blacks and Whites, but the effect was more pronounced for Blacks.

Although the data is not causal, the strength of the Whites’ explicit bias on predicting access to healthcare and mortality due to circulatory disease suggests a direct relationship between the two variables. These studies serve as a foundation for exploring causal relationships that lead to the reported health disparities between Blacks and Whites. The researchers posit structural, interpersonal, emotional, and behavioral spheres of influence that might mediate the relationship between Whites’ explicit racial biases and Blacks’ negative health outcomes.

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References

Leitner, J. B., Hehman, E., Ayduk, O., & Mendoza-Denton, R. (2016). Blacks’ death rate due to circulatory diseases is positively related to Whites’ explicit racial bias a nationwide investigation using project implicit. Psychological Science, 27(10), 1299-1311. DOI: 10.1177/0956797616658450

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