New Research Examines Mistrust of the Medical Establishment Among Latinas

A new study lead by Lisa Oakley, a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, finds that Latina women who have reported that they experienced racial or ethnic discrimination are less satisfied with their contraceptive care. This dissatisfaction may lead to poor choices concerning their health.

In a survey of a large group of women, 60 percent of whom were born outside the United States, a full quarter reported that they were dissatisfied with the care they received when attempting to obtain birth control. Initially, the researchers found experiences of discrimination, medical mistrust and structural barriers to care, such as trouble with childcare or getting time off work to see a doctor, were associated with low satisfaction. But when considering all of these influences together, they found that everyday instances of discrimination were the largest influence on women’s satisfaction. And those that experienced discrimination were less likely to trust health care professionals and this can have a negative effect on women’s health.

Dr. Oakley stated that “ensuring health care providers have culturally responsive staff and reducing other barriers to access, such as child care, transportation and unemployment, can help women feel more satisfied with their overall care. And satisfaction with care helps to ensure that women will continue to seek medical care, including contraceptives.”

The full study, “Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, Medical Mistrust, and Satisfaction with Birth Control Services Among Young Adult Latinas,” was published on the website of the journal Women’s Health Issues. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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