Race/ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Satisfaction with Health Care

Published in: American Journal of Medical Quality, v. 20, no. 4, July/Aug. 2005, p. 195-203

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by Mark G. Haviland, Leo S. Morales, Thomas H. Dial, Harold Alan Pincus

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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status on consumer health care satisfaction ratings. The authors analyzed national data from the 2001 National Research Corporation Healthcare Market Guide Survey (N = 99 102). Four global and 3 composite ratings were examined. In general, satisfaction ratings were high across all global and composite measures; however, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics gave lower ratings than did whites, and African Americans gave a mix of higher and lower ratings (vs whites). Among the lowest ratings were those given by American Indians/Alaska Natives living in poverty. Race/ethnicity effects were independent of education and income. These findings are consistent with reports of continuing racial/ethnic disparities in both coverage and care. Programs to improve quality of care must specifically address these well-documented, severe, and persistent disparities.

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