Effects of patient-provider race concordance and smoking status on lung cancer risk perception accuracy among African-Americans

Ann Behav Med. 2013 Jun;45(3):308-17. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9475-9.


Background: Communication of lung cancer risk information between providers and African-American patients occurs in a context marked by race-based health disparities.

Purpose: A controlled experiment assessed whether perceived physician race influenced African-American patients' (n = 127) risk perception accuracy following the provision of objective lung cancer risk information.

Methods: Participants interacted with a virtual reality-based, simulated physician who provided personalized cancer risk information.

Results: Participants who interacted with a racially discordant virtual doctor were less accurate in their risk perceptions at post-test than those who interacted with a concordant virtual doctor, F(1,94) = 4.02, p = .048. This effect was amplified among current smokers. Effects were not mediated by trust in the provider, engagement with the health care system, or attention during the encounter.

Conclusions: The current study demonstrates that African-American patients' perceptions of a doctor's race are sufficient to independently impact their processing of lung cancer risk information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Risk
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Trust*