It's a matter of trust: Older African Americans speak about their health care encounters

Bryan R. Hansen, Nancy A. Hodgson, Laura N. Gitlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To examine perceptions of older African Americans' encounters with health care providers and ways to enhance trust. Method: Transcribed semi-structured interviews with African American senior center members were analyzed, using Pattern Coding method. Results: Four themes emerged: "Added Insult of Ageism," "Alternative Remedies," "Good Providers in a 'Broken' System," and "The Foundation of Trust Is Person Recognition." Provider behaviors leading to mistrust included erroneously assuming stereotypical preferences and competence, spending inadequate time listening to patients, disregarding patient preferences, and insufficiently explaining treatments. Discussion: Of importance to improving trust among older African American patients is valuing individual histories and preferences by reallocating scarce time to person-centered listening, individualizing treatments, more completely explaining interventions, and assuring that patients understand and agree with treatment plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1076
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • health care provider
  • health disparity
  • older adult
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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