Perceived racial/ethnic bias in healthcare in Durham County, North Carolina: a comparison of community and national samples

N C Med J. 2005 Jul-Aug;66(4):267-75.


Background: We sought to compare findings of a national survey of perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination in healthcare to those of a community survey, with emphasis on the perceptions of Latinos.

Methods: Responses from a national survey were compared to a telephone survey of residents of Durham County, North Carolina.

Results: Black respondents in the Durham sample were more likely than those in the national sample to feel that a healthcare provider had treated them with disrespect because of health insurance status (28% vs 14%; P < 0.001). Approximately one third of Durham Latinos and 14% of Latinos in the national sample felt they had been treated with disrespect because of their English-language ability (P < 0.01). Compared to a national sample of white participants, white respondents in Durham were more likely to believe that black persons are worse off in terms of receiving routine medical care (40% vs 27%; P < 0.01) and having health insurance (58% vs 43%; P < 0.01). As compared to their national counterparts, there was a similar trend for how white respondents in Durham perceived how Latinos fared (P < 0.001 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Overall the perception of bias in healthcare was greater among Durham residents, especially among newly immigrated Latinos, than among their national counterparts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Prejudice*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Perception*