Patient-physician racial/ethnic concordance and blood pressure control: the role of trust and medication adherence

Antoinette Schoenthaler, Enid Montague, Linda Baier Manwell, Roger Brown, Mark D Schwartz, Mark Linzer
Ethnicity & Health 2014, 19 (5): 565-78

OBJECTIVES: To examine the associations between racial/ethnic concordance and blood pressure (BP) control, and to determine whether patient trust and medication adherence mediate these associations.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of 723 hypertensive African-American and white patients receiving care from 205 white and African-American providers at 119 primary care clinics, from 2001 to 2005. Racial/ethnic concordance was characterized as dyads where both the patient and physician were of the same race/ethnicity; discordance occurred in dyads where the patient was African-American and the physician was white. Patient perceptions of trust and medication adherence were assessed with self-report measures. The BP readings were abstracted from patients' medical charts using standardized procedures.

RESULTS: Six hundred thirty-seven patients were in race/ethnic-concordant relationships; 86 were in race/ethnic-discordant relationships. Concordance had no association with BP control. White patients in race/ethnic-concordant relationships were more likely to report better adherence than African-American patients in race/ethnic-discordant relationships (OR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.61, p = 0.04). Little difference in adherence was found for African-American patients in race/ethnic-concordant vs. discordant relationships. Increasing trust was associated with significantly better adherence (OR: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.31, p < 0.01) and a trend toward better BP control among all patients (OR: 1.26, 95% CI: 0.97, 1.63, p = 0.07).

CONCLUSIONS: Patient trust may influence medication adherence and BP control regardless of patient-physician racial/ethnic composition.

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