Mistrust of health careand perceived discrimination can also lead to health disparities. Discriminationcan be defined as a difference in treatment based on race, ethnicity or race(Weech-Maldonado, Hall, Bryant, Jenkins & Elliott, 2012).
Perceiveddiscrimination can lead to individuals postponing or foregoing medicaltreatment. Individuals are also more likely to not take advantage ofpreventative services as well as not adhere to provider recommendations andtreatments (Stepanikova & Oates, 2016). It is not uncommon for minoritiesto have higher levels of mistrust of health care. In fact, studies have shownthat African American are more than twice more likely to believe that hospitalshave conducted harmful experiments on patients without consent (LaVeist, 2005). Provider attitudes is another factor that can also leadto health disparities. In fact, research has shown that patient characteristicssuch as socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity can have an impact on thelevel of care that a patient receives (Kendrick, Nuccio, Leiferman &Sauaia, 2015).
Further, a study conducted in 2002 regarding patientinteractions based on race found that physicians consistently reported negativeattitudes towards African American patient compared to their Caucasiancounterparts. These differences in provider attitudes can affect a patient’srate of health service usage, including preventative care services (LaVeist,2005). A final factor that can lead to health disparities arelanguage barriers. Studies have shown a clear association between languagebarriers and lower quality of care. In fact, individuals who are not Englishspeakers are more likely to misunderstand diagnosis, treatment plans, providerrecommendation and medication instructions (LaVeist, 2005). Further, limitedEnglish-language patients often report having to use their family members asinterpreters. While the use of interpreters can increase the quality of carereceived, interpreter encounters can reduce open communication and do not allowfor patient provider health information confidentially (Steinberg,Valenzuela-Araujo, Zickafoose, Keiffer & DeCamp, 2016). Health behaviors that lead to healthdisparitiesHealth behavior can be defined as the knowledge, practicesand attitudes that stimulate the actions we take regarding health (LaVeist,2005).
There are at least three subcomponents of health behavior. These arerisk behavior, preventative behavior and illness behavior. To define, riskbehavior are the actions that a person may engage in that have the ability toincrease the likelihood of developing a disease or injury in the future.Preventative behavior are the actions that individuals may engage in that havethe ability to reduce one’s chances of developing a disease or sustaining an injuryin future. Lastly, illness behavior refers to actions that individuals takewhen faced with an illness (LaVeist, 2005). Health behaviors may lead to health disparities andinequities. Within the illness health behavior subcomponent, studies have shownthat racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to delay seeking carecompared to their Caucasian counterparts. Stigma associated with treatment ofcertain diseases is among the most often cited reason for delaying care withinminority populations (LaVeist, 2005).
Within the preventative behavior subcomponent, whencomparing inactivity levels within all races, it was found that inactivitylevels were higher for Hispanic men as well as black men. The high level ofinactivity could be due to increased crime rates within these communities whichcould limit the time spent outside due to safety reasons (LaVeist, 2005). Infact, a study found that in low socioeconomic neighborhoods, parental anxietywas higher in regard to outside children activities, when compared to theirsuburban counterparts (LaVeist & Isaac, 2013).
Higher levels of physical inactivity have beenfound to increase one’s likelihood of obesity, chronic conditions, and highermedical costs (Lindgren, Freedman, Engell, Fleming, Lim, Murray & Mokdad,2013).