How doctors' communication style and race concordance influence African-Caribbean patients when disclosing depression

A. Adams*, A. Realpe, L. Vail, C.D. Buckingham, L.H. Erby, D. Roter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To determine the impact of doctors' communication style and doctor-patient race concordance on UK African-Caribbeans' comfort in disclosing depression. Methods: 160 African-Caribbean and 160 white British subjects, stratified by gender and history of depression, participated in simulated depression consultations with video-recorded doctors. Doctors were stratified by black or white race, gender and a high (HPC) or low patient-centred (LPC) communication style, giving a full 2. ×. 2. ×. 2 factorial design. Afterwards, participants rated aspects of doctors' communication style, their comfort in disclosing depression and treatment preferences. Results: Race concordance had no impact on African-Caribbeans' comfort in disclosing depression. However a HPC versus LPC communication style made them significantly more positive about their interactions with doctors (p = 0.000), their overall comfort (p = 0.003), their comfort in disclosing their emotional state (p = 0.001), and about considering talking therapy (p = 0.01); but less positive about considering antidepressant medication (p =0.01). Conclusion: Doctors' communication style was shown to be more important than patient race or race concordance in influencing African Caribbeans' depression consultation experiences. Changing doctors' communication style may help reduce disparities in depression care. Practice Implications: Practitioners should cultivate a HPC style to make African-Caribbeans more comfortable when disclosing depression, so that it is less likely to be missed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266–1273
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume98
Issue number10
Early online date17 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
All rights reserved. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funding: ESRC (grant RES-177-25-0014), as part of the ESRC/NIH Disparities Initiative.

Communication in Healthcare: Best papers from the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 28 September - 1 October 2014. International Conference on Communication in Healthcare.

Keywords

  • African-Caribbean
  • depression disclosure
  • depression treatment
  • doctor-patient communication
  • primary care
  • racial disparities

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