Medical Stereotypes

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Travis Sullivan
2/21/2013
Physician Stereotypes and African Americans
Stereotypes are considered as beliefs and opinions about the characteristics, and behaviors of member of various groups (Whitley, Kite, 2010). Contemporary research suggests Stereotyping amongst physicians in clinical settings might lead to a misdiagnosis of African Americans. Health care workers are taught to categorize individuals according to social groups so that patients may be accurately stereotyped along health relevant domains (Moskowitz, Stone, & Childs, 2012). For example, the idea that African American’s might be more likely for a stroke than White Americans. This can be a problem in the medical field when physicians are misattributing diseases with a race. When these stereotypes are brought to play, it can lead to erroneous attitudes toward the social group and can influence inaccurate beliefs and judgments. In a study by Moskowitz, Stone, & Childs (2012), they aimed to examine whether implicit stereotyping (unconscious attributions to a particular social group) exists among medical doctors. The study was broken up into two different parts. The first part was surveying physicians across the country to examine what diseases might be associated with African Americans, from a public point of view, regardless of the physician’s personal beliefs or ideas. The second part assessed different (White American) physicians in a lab setting by flashing pictures of members of a stereotyped group (African Americans) and non-stereotyped group (White Americans) and associated each picture with a medical disease from the first study. The results showed that responses to stereotypical diseases (hypertension, sickle cell aneima, HIV, stoke, obesity) were much more higher when shown pictures of African Americans opposed to White Americans. This study causes a rise for concern and danger when assessing social groups in actual clinical settings. These dangers of seeing people as groups and...
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