Under the radar: How unexamined biases in decision-making processes in clinical interactions can contribute to health care disparities

John F. Dovidio, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several aspects of social psychological science shed light on how unexamined racial/ethnic biases contribute tohealthcare disparities. Biases are complex but systematic, differing by racial/ ethnic group and not limited to love-hate polarities. Group imagesontheuniversalsocial cognitive dimensions of competence and warmth determine the content of each group's overall stereotype, distinct emotional prejudices (pity, envy, disgust, pride), and discriminatory tendencies. These biases are often unconscious and occur despite the best intentions. Such ambivalent and automatic biases can influence medical decisions and interactions, systematically producing discrimination in health care andultimatelydisparitiesinhealth. Understanding howthese processes may contribute to bias in health care can help guide interventions to address racial and ethnic disparities in health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-952
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume102
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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