Indexed on: 20 Jun '16Published on: 08 Jun '16Published in: Group processes & intergroup relations : GPIR
The association between physicians’ and patients’ racial attitudes and poorer patient–physician communication in racially discordant medical interactions is well-documented. However, it is unclear how physicians’ and patients’ racial attitudes independently and jointly affect their behaviors during these interactions. In a secondary analysis of video-recorded medical interactions between non-Black physicians and Black patients, we examined how physicians’ explicit and implicit racial bias and patients’ perceived past discrimination influenced their own as well as one another’s affect and level of engagement. Affect and engagement were assessed with a "thin slice" method. For physicians, the major findings were significant three-way interactions: physicians’ affect and engagement were influenced by their implicit and explicit racial bias (i.e., aversive racism), but only when they interacted with patients who reported any incidence of prior discrimination. In contrast, patients’ affect was influenced only by perceived discrimination. Theoretical and clinical implications of current findings are discussed.