Does Discrimination Breed Mistrust? Examining the Role of Mediated and Non-Mediated Discrimination Experiences in Medical Mistrust

Lillie D. Williamson, Marisa A. Smith, Cabral A. Bigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Medical mistrust is associated with a decreased likelihood of engaging in various health behaviors, including health utilization and preventive screening. Despite calls for research to address medical mistrust, few studies have explicitly delved into antecedents to medical mistrust. The current study a) examines the relationship between discrimination experiences and medical mistrust and b) experimentally tests the influence of mediated vicarious discrimination on reported levels of medical mistrust. Participants (N = 198) were randomly assigned to view news stories in one of four experimental conditions: no exposure, no discrimination control, implicit racial discrimination, and explicit racial discrimination. Results indicated prior personal and vicarious discrimination experiences were related to medical mistrust. Furthermore, exposure to mediated discrimination influenced medical mistrust in different ways for Black and White participants. Among Black participants, medical mistrust was significantly higher for those exposed to the implicit racial discrimination condition than the control condition. Marginal differences were found for White participants such that those exposed to both explicit and implicit racial discrimination conditions reported higher medical mistrust than those exposed to the control condition. Our findings are discussed in terms of the theoretical and practical implications for health communication scholars seeking to examine and influence health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-799
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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