Background: To assess discrimination in health care, reliable, valid, and comprehensive measures of racism/discrimination are needed.
Objective: To review literature on measures of perceived race/ethnicity-based discrimination and evaluate their characteristics and usefulness in assessing discrimination from health care providers.
Methods: Literature review of measures of perceived race/ethnicity-based discrimination (1966-2007), using MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Social Science Citation Index.
Results: We identified 34 measures of racism/discrimination; 16 specifically assessed dynamics in the health care setting. Few measures were theoretically based; most assessed only general dimensions of racism and focused specifically on the experiences of African American patients. Acceptable psychometric properties were documented for about half of the instruments.
Conclusions: Additional measures are needed for detailed assessments of perceived discrimination in the health care setting; they should be relevant for a wide variety of racial/ethnic groups, and they must assess how racism/discrimination affects health care decision making and treatments offered.