Patient trust in physicians and shared decision-making among African-Americans with diabetes

Health Commun. 2013;28(6):616-23. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2012.710873. Epub 2012 Oct 10.


This study explores patient trust in physicians and its relationship to shared decision-making (SDM) among African-Americans with diabetes (types 1 and 2). We conducted a series of focus groups (n = 27) and in-depth interviews (n = 24). Topic guides were developed utilizing theoretical constructs. Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Each transcript was independently coded by two randomly assigned members of the research team; codes and themes were identified in an iterative fashion utilizing Atlas.ti software. The mean age of study participants was 62 years and 85% were female. We found that (1) race as a social construct has the potential to influence key domains of patient trust (interpersonal/relationship aspects and medical skills/technical competence), (2) the relationship between patient trust and shared decision-making is bidirectional in nature, and (3) enhancing patient trust may potentially increase or decrease SDM among African-Americans with diabetes. Mistrust of physicians among African-Americans with diabetes may partially be addressed through (1) patient education efforts, (2) physician training in interpersonal skills and cultural competence, and (3) physician efforts to engage patients in SDM. To help enhance patient outcomes among African-Americans with diabetes, physicians might consider incorporating strategies to simultaneously engender their patients' trust and encourage shared decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Decision Making*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Tape Recording
  • Trust*
  • Young Adult