Health  Vol.2 No.10 , October 2010
Race, gender, and lifestyle discussions in geriatric primary care medical visits
ABSTRACT
Increasingly, healthcare providers are required to spend more time and effort aimed at prevention and life modification. Many argue that providers are in a unique position to provide information for effective life and behavior change. Yet, relatively little is known about how in- terpersonal provider and patient characteristics, such as race and gender, affect discussions of life choices about public health issues. To understand better how patient and physician characteristics influence discussions of life behaviors, we conducted a prospective, cohort study of interactions between primary care physicians and their geriatric patients. We videotaped 381 elderly patient visits with 35 primary care physicians. We coded the encounters to indicate whether the patient and physician discussed life issues around nutrition, physical activity, and smoking. The independent variables were patient and physician race, gender, and concordant status. Discussions about nutrition were the most common life topic (47.8%), followed by physical activity (40.3%) and smoking (14.2%). Multivariate analysis indicate white patients are significantly less likely to have discussions with their physicians about nutrition (OR = 0.32, p = 0.02) and same gender encounters are also less likely to discuss diet/nutrition (OR = 0.59, p = 0.04). There were no significant differences for discussions about physical activity or smoking. Previous research has shown that differences persist in the quality of care and certain outcomes. Our results suggest these differrences are not exclusively the result of differences in the prevalence of life discussions based on patient and physician race or gender.

Cite this paper
nullPeck, B. , Hurwicz, M. , Ory, M. , Yuma, P. and Cook, M. (2010) Race, gender, and lifestyle discussions in geriatric primary care medical visits. Health, 2, 1150-1155. doi: 10.4236/health.2010.210168.
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