Trust in One's Physician
The Role of Ethnic Match, Autonomy, Acculturation, and Religiosity Among Japanese and Japanese Americans
Published in: Annals of Family Medicine, v. 3, no. 4, July/Aug. 2005, p. 339-347
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005
PURPOSE Trust is a cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship. We investigated the relation of patient characteristics, religiosity, acculturation, physician ethnicity, and insurance-mandated physician change to levels of trust in Japanese American and Japanese patients. METHODS A self-administered, cross-sectional questionnaire in English and Japanese (completed in the language of their choice) was given to community-based samples of 539 English-speaking Japanese Americans, 340 Japanese-speaking Japanese Americans, and 304 Japanese living in Japan. RESULTS Eighty-seven percent of English-speaking Japanese Americans, 93% of Japanese-speaking Japanese Americans, and 58% of Japanese living in Japan responded to trust items and reported mean trust scores of 83, 80, and 68, respectively, on a scale ranging from 0 to 100. In multivariate analyses, English-speaking and Japanese-speaking Japanese American respondents reported more trust than Japanese respondents living in Japan (P values <.001). Greater religiosity (P <.001), less desire for autonomy (P <.001), and physician-patient relationships of longer duration (P <.001) were related to increased trust. Among Japanese Americans, more acculturated respondents reported more trust (P <.001), and Japanese physicians were trusted more than physicians of another ethnicity. Among respondents prompted to change physicians because of insurance coverage, the 48% who did not want to switch reported less trust in their current physician than in their former physician (mean score of 82 vs 89, P <.001). CONCLUSIONS Religiosity, autonomy preference, and acculturation were strongly related to trust in one's physician among the Japanese American and Japanese samples studied and may provide avenues to enhance the physician-patient relationship. The strong relationship of trust with patient-physician ethnic match and the loss of trust when patients, in retrospect, report leaving a preferred physician suggest unintended consequences to patients not able to continue with their preferred physicians.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.