FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The ethnic group and gender of a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis can affect their trust in physicians, with black and Hispanic patients less likely than whites to trust their physicians, according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research. In addition, black and Hispanic men with such diseases are less likely than women of the same ethnicity to trust their physician.
Javier P. Berrios-Rivera, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues studied 70 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 32 with systemic lupus erythematosus. One-quarter of the patients were white, 31 percent were black, 43 percent were Hispanic and three-quarters were women.
The researchers found that among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis, the patient's ethnicity, disease severity, confidence in the U.S. health care system and their physician's willingness to communicate affected their confidence in their doctors.
"In patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, trust in physicians is significantly associated with patients' ethnicity and their perceptions about specific components of physicians' communication style," the authors write. "Trust in physicians can be improved by using a patient-centered approach, being sensitive to patient concerns, and providing adequate clinical information. Furthermore, patients appear to be more willing to disclose concerns when physicians use a patient-centered communication style."