Betsy Sleath

University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (138)274.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Education about how to administer eye drops may improve a patient's ability to instill his or her eye drops correctly. Our objectives were to (a) document the methods providers use to educate glaucoma patients about eye drop technique; (b) determine whether eye drop technique education varies by provider and patient characteristics; and (c) evaluate whether education predicts improved patient technique. We conducted an 8-month longitudinal study of 279 glaucoma patients and 15 providers in which we recorded on videotape the content of glaucoma office visits at two time points (baseline and 4- to 6-week follow-up) and videotaped patient eye drop technique at three time points (baseline, 4- to 6-week follow-up, and 8-month follow-up). Mann-Whitney rank sum tests were used to determine whether education was associated with improved patient eye drop technique over time. Ninety-four patients (34%) received technique education at either visit; 31% received verbal education and 10% received a technique demonstration. Only 24 patients (47%) who were new to eye drops received technique education at the baseline visit. Patients who were new to drops at baseline (p = .008) and patients who asked a question about drops (p < .001) were more likely to receive technique education. Education was not associated with improved technique. Eye drop technique education occurs infrequently during glaucoma office visits. Future studies should compare the effectiveness of different educational methods, such as patient demonstration versus provider verbal instruction, to determine which method is best at improving patient eye drop technique.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Health Communication
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Over a third of adults in the United States have limited health literacy, which has been associated with numerous negative health outcomes and high health care costs. Most commonly used, objective measures of patients’ literacy skills have traditionally been administered in person. This study assessed the feasibility of administering the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) via telephone. METHODS: A total of 119 participants were recruited after participating in a separate study where the REALM was administered in person. After approximately 1 week, patients were sent copies of the REALM prompt via mail and, when provided, email. A research assistant called participants approximately 1 week later to determine if the REALM had been received and could be accessed for use during the call. Multiple attempts to reach participants were made; 84 participants were able to successfully complete the study, yielding a response rate of 70.6%. The REALM was then administered over the phone, and results were compared with the scores from the in-person administration. RESULTS: There was a high correlation between both assessments (Spearman=0.85). The agreement between literacy categories (low, marginal, and adequate) between the in-person and telephone- based assessments was also high at 84.5% (kappa=0.72). Participants who completed the study were older than participants who did not complete the study, more likely to be white, and less likely to be currently working. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study indicate the REALM can be administered over the phone, providing alternative methodologies for literacy assessments in future studies. © 2016, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To describe the information about medication risks/benefits that rheumatologists provide during patient office visits, the gist that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) extract from the information provided, and the relationship between communication and medication satisfaction. Methods: Data from 169 RA patients were analyzed. Each participant had up to three visits audiotaped. Four RA patients coded the audiotapes using a Gist Coding Scheme and research assistants coded the audiotapes using a Verbatim Coding Scheme. Results: When extracting gist from the information discussed during visits, patient coders distinguished between discussion concerning the possibility of medication side effects versus expression of significant safety concerns. Among patients in the best health, nearly 80% reported being totally satisfied with their medications when the physician communicated the gist that the medication was effective, compared to approximately 50% when this gist was not communicated. Conclusion: Study findings underscore the multidimensional nature of medication risk communication and the importance of communication concerning medication effectiveness/need. Practice implications: Health care providers should ensure that patients understand that medication self-management practices can minimize potential risks. Communicating simple gist messages may increase patient satisfaction, especially messages about benefits for well-managed patients. Optimal communication also requires shared understanding of desired therapeutic outcomes.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Patient Education and Counseling
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The objectives of this study were to quantify the extent to which children with asthma are overconfident that they are using their inhalers correctly and determine whether demographic and clinical characteristics are associated with children being overconfident. Methods: Children (n = 91) ages 7-17 with persistent asthma were recruited at two pediatric practices in North Carolina and demonstrated their inhaler technique for metered dose inhalers during an office visit. Children were dichotomized into two groups based on how confident they were that they were using their inhalers correctly: "completely confident" or "not completely confident". The mean number of inhaler steps (out of 8) children performed incorrectly was examined. We applied linear regression models for children in the "completely confident" group to determine whether demographic and clinical factors predicted their overconfidence, defined as the number of inhaler steps performed incorrectly. Results: Children were primarily male (56%) and non-Hispanic White (60%). Sixty-eight (75%) children were "completely confident" that they were using their inhalers correctly. The "completely confident" group missed an average of 1.5 steps. In the "completely confident" group, males (p < 0.04) missed significantly more steps than females. The two most common errors were forgetting to shake the inhaler and holding their breath for 10 s. Conclusion: Regardless of their confidence level, children in our sample missed an average of 1-2 steps on an inhaler technique assessment. Findings from this study provide new evidence that it is insufficient to ask children if they are using their inhalers correctly. Therefore, it is vital that providers ask children to demonstrate their inhaler technique during health encounters.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Asthma
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about how ophthalmologist-patient communication over time is associated with glaucoma patient long-term adherence. The purpose of our study was to examine the association between provider use of components of the resources and supports in self-management model when communicating with patients and adherence to glaucoma medications measured electronically over an 8-month period. In this longitudinal prospective cohort study, the main variables studied were ophthalmologist communication-individualized assessment, collaborative goal setting and skills enhancement. Patients with glaucoma who were newly prescribed or on glaucoma medications were recruited from six ophthalmology clinics. Patients' baseline and next follow-up visits were videotape-recorded. Patients were interviewed after their visits. Patients used medication event monitoring systems (MEMS) for 8 months after enrollment into the study, and adherence was measured electronically using MEMS for 240 days after their visits. Two hundred and seventy-nine patients participated. Patient race and regimen complexity were negatively associated with glaucoma medication adherence over an 8-month period. Provider communication behaviors, including providing education and positive reinforcement, can improve patient adherence to glaucoma medications over an 8-month period. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Health Education Research
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to examine the extent to which patient characteristics, eye drop technique self-efficacy, and ophthalmologist-patient communication about eye drop administration are associated with glaucoma patients' ability to instil a single drop, have the drop land in the eye, and avoid touching the applicator tip of the medication bottle to the eye or face while self-administering eye drops. Glaucoma patients (n = 279) were recruited from six ophthalmology clinics. Medical visits were videotape-recorded. Afterwards, patients were interviewed and demonstrated administering an eye drop on a videotaped-recording. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyse the data. Ophthalmologists provided eye drop administration instruction to 40 patients. Patients with more years of education were significantly more likely to both instil a single drop (P = 0.017) and have the drop land in their eye (P = 0.017). Women were significantly more likely to touch the applicator tip to their eyes or face (P = 0.014). Patients with severe glaucoma (P = 0.016), women (P = 0.026), and patients who asked at least one eye drop administration question (P = 0.001) were significantly less likely to instil a single drop. Patients with arthritis were significantly less likely to have the drop land in their eye (P = 0.008). African American patients were significantly less likely to touch the applicator tip to their eyes or face (P = 0.008). Some glaucoma patients have a difficult time self-administering eye drops. As so few patients received eye drop administration instruction from their providers, there is an opportunity for pharmacists to complement care. © 2015 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines (1) whether youth and their caregivers have different preferences for asthma education video topics and (2) if education topic preferences vary by youth and caregiver sociodemographic characteristics. Youth (n = 83) ages 7-17 years with persistent asthma and their caregivers were recruited at two pediatric practices in North Carolina. Sociodemographic information and youth and caregiver preferences for nine asthma video education topics were collected during in-person interviews. Bonferroni-corrected Chi-square or McNemar tests (α = 0.0056) were used to compare youth and caregivers differences in topic preferences and topic preferences by youth and caregiver sociodemographic characteristics, including gender, race, ethnicity, and age. Youth were primarily male (52%) and from low-income families (74%; caregiver annual income less than $30 000) and many were Hispanic (45%). Youth and parents expressed the most interest in the following two topics: "how to deal with triggers" (90% and 95%, respectively) and "how to keep asthma under control" (87% and 96%, respectively). Caregivers and children were discordant for two topics: "the difference between a rescue and controller medicine" and "how to [help your child] talk to your [his/her] friends about asthma." No differences were found between youth and caregiver sociodemographic characteristics and video topic preferences. Youth with persistent asthma and their caregivers differed in their asthma education topic preferences, but preferences did not vary by caregiver or youth sociodemographic characteristics. Studies examining the effectiveness of interventions tailored to differences in educational preferences of youth with asthma and their caregivers are needed.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Asthma
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    ABSTRACT: Glaucoma medications can improve clinical outcomes when patients adhere to their medication regimen. Providers often ask patients with glaucoma to self-report their adherence, but the accuracy of self-reporting has received little scientific attention. The purpose of this article was to compare a self-reported medication adherence measure with adherence data collected from Medication Event Monitoring Systems (MEMS) electronic monitors. An additional goal was to identify which patient characteristics were associated with overreporting adherence on the self-reported measure.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Clinical Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: We examined whether six patient-provider communication behaviors directly affected the intraocular pressure (IOP) of glaucoma patients or whether patient medication adherence and eye drop technique mediated the relationship between self-efficacy, communication, and IOP. During an 8-month, longitudinal study of 279 glaucoma patients and 15 providers, two office visits were videotape-recorded, transcribed, and coded for six patient-provider communication behaviors. Medication adherence was measured electronically and IOP was extracted from medical records. We ran generalized estimating equations to examine the direct effects of communication on IOP and used bootstrapping to test whether medication adherence and eye drop technique mediated the effect of communication on IOP. Provider education about medication adherence (B=-0.50, p<0.05) and inclusion of patient input into the treatment plan (B=-0.35, p<0.05) predicted improved IOP. There was no evidence of significant mediation. The positive effects of provider education and provider inclusion of patient input in the treatment plan were not mediated by adherence and eye drop technique. Providers should educate glaucoma patients about the importance of medication adherence and include patient input into their treatment plan. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Patient Education and Counseling
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    ABSTRACT: Current adherence scales often fail to assess the full spectrum of behaviors associated with safe and appropriate drug use and may be unsuitable for patients with limited health literacy. We sought to develop and evaluate a comprehensive yet brief Measure of Drug Self-Management (MeDS) for use in research and clinical settings among diverse patient groups. Expert opinion, literature reviews, and interviews with patients and providers were utilized to create and revise potential items. Item performance testing was then conducted among 193 adult English-speaking patients with hypertension and diabetes. Factor analysis was used to inform item selection. Reliability was assessed via calculations of internal consistency. To assess construct and predictive validity, MeDS scores were compared with scores from the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale and relevant clinical measures (HbA1c, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol). The MeDS demonstrated adequate internal consistency with a Cronbach's α of 0.72. The MeDS was significantly correlated with the Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (r= -0.62; P<0.001). The MeDS was also associated with clinical measures, with statistically significant correlations found between MeDS scores and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r= -0.27, P≤0.001) and diastolic blood pressure (r= -0.18, P=0.01). The MeDS seems to be a valid and reliable tool that can be used to assess medication self-management skills among diverse patients, including those with limited literacy skills. Future studies are needed to test the tool in actual use and explore clinical applications.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Patient Preference and Adherence
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine if patient demographic factors influenced self-reporting of medication side effects, difficulty with drop instillation, and nonadherence to glaucoma therapy. English-speaking adult glaucoma patients (n = 279) from six ophthalmology clinics were enrolled. Patients' medical visits were videotaped and patients were interviewed immediately afterward by research assistants. The videotapes were transcribed verbatim and coded to identify patients who expressed problems with medication side effects, eye drop administration, and nonadherence during the glaucoma office visits. Generalized estimating equations were performed to identify whether patient characteristics were associated with expression of problems with glaucoma medication and medication nonadherence during the office visit. Patients with lower health literacy were significantly less likely to express problems with side effects (odds ratio [OR], 0.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25 to 0.88) and eye drop administration (OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.63) during the visit. Patients who reported eye drop administration and side effect problems during the interview were significantly more likely to express these problems to their ophthalmologist (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.82 to 5.37 and OR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.12 to 3.08, respectively). Patients who expressed a problem with eye drop administration and with side effects were significantly more likely to express medication nonadherence to their ophthalmologist (OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.44 to 5.80 and OR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.16 to 3.54, respectively). Patients who reported greater than 80% medication adherence during the interview were significantly less likely to express nonadherence to their ophthalmologist (OR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.12 to 0.40). Eye care providers should be aware that glaucoma patients with lower health literacy are less likely to express problems with side effects and eye drop administration. Providers should work with patients to assess medication-related problems to mitigate potential barriers to medication adherence because patients who expressed medication problems were also more likely to express nonadherence.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Optometry and vision science: official publication of the American Academy of Optometry

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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    Preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Health
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    ABSTRACT: Medication adherence is a critical aspect of managing cardiometabolic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and heart failure. Patients who have multiple cardiometabolic conditions and multiple prescribers may be at increased risk for nonadherence. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between number of prescribers, number of conditions, and refill adherence to oral medications to treat cardiometabolic conditions. In this retrospective cohort study, 7933 veterans were identified with 1 to 4 cardiometabolic conditions. Refill adherence to oral medications for diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia was measured using an administrative claims-based continuous multiple-interval gap (CMG) that estimates the percentage of days a patient did not possess medication. We dichotomized refill adherence for each condition as a CMG ≤20% for each year of analysis. Condition-specific logistic regression models estimated the relationship between refill adherence and number of cardiometabolic conditions and number of prescribers, controlling for demographic characteristics, other comorbidities, and a count of cardiometabolic drug classes used. Compared with patients with 1 prescriber, antihypertensive refill adherence was lower in patients seeing ≥4 prescribers (odds ratio [OR] = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.59-0.80), but the number of cardiometabolic conditions was not a significant predictor. Antidyslipidemia refill adherence was lower in patients seeing 3 prescribers (OR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.70-0.92) or ≥4 prescribers (OR = 0.77; 95% CI = 0.64-0.91). Conversely, antidyslipidemia refill adherence improved with the number of cardiometabolic conditions, but differences were only statistically significant for ≥3 conditions (OR = 1.31; 95% CI = 1.09-1.57). In multivariate regression models, the number of conditions and number of prescribers were not significant predictors of refill adherence in the group of patients with diabetes. Effective management of care and medication regimens for complex patients remains an unresolved challenge, but these results suggest that medication refill adherence might be improved by minimizing the number of prescribers involved in a patient's care, at least for hypertension and dyslipidemia. © The Author(s) 2014.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Annals of Pharmacotherapy
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the associations of provider-patient communication, glaucoma medication adherence self-efficacy, and outcome expectations with glaucoma medication adherence. Prospective, observational cohort study. Two hundred seventy-nine patients with glaucoma who were newly prescribed or taking glaucoma medications were recruited at 6 ophthalmology clinics. Patients' visits were video recorded and communication variables were coded using a detailed coding tool developed by the authors. Adherence was measured using Medication Event Monitoring Systems for 60 days after their visits. The following adherence variables were measured for the 60-day period after their visits: whether the patient took 80% or more of the prescribed doses, percentage of the correct number of prescribed doses taken each day, and percentage of the prescribed doses taken on time. Higher glaucoma medication adherence self-efficacy was associated positively with better adherence with all 3 measures. Black race was associated negatively with percentage of the correct number of doses taken each day (β = -0.16; P < 0.05) and whether the patient took 80% or more of the prescribed doses (odds ratio, 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.16-0.86). Physician education about how to administer drops was associated positively with percentage of the correct number of doses taken each day (β = 0.18; P < 0.01) and percentage of the prescribed doses taken on time (β = 0.15; P < 0.05). These findings indicate that provider education about how to administer glaucoma drops and patient glaucoma medication adherence self-efficacy are associated positively with adherence. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Ophthalmology
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    ABSTRACT: Background While primary care medical clinics have been the most common setting for the delivery of advice about smoking cessation, the hospital emergency department (ED) is a valuable context for counseling medically underserved tobacco users. We conducted a secondary analysis based on a larger audio-recorded study of patient-provider communication about pain and analgesics in the ED. Within a sample of ED patients with back pain, the purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine how physicians and nurse practitioners capitalize on ¿teachable moments¿ for health education to offer spontaneous smoking cessation counseling in the ED.Methods Patients presenting to an academic ED with a primary complaint of back pain were invited to participate in a study of patient-provider communication. Audio-recorded encounters were transcribed verbatim. Two coders reviewed each transcript to determine whether smoking was discussed and to build a corpus of smoking-related discussions. We then developed inductively generated coding categories to characterize how providers responded when patients endorsed smoking behavior. Categories were refined iteratively to accommodate discrepancies.ResultsOf 52 patient-provider encounters during which smoking was discussed, two-thirds of the patients indicated that they were smokers. Providers missed opportunities for smoking cessation counseling 70% of the time. Eleven encounters contained teachable moments for smoking cessation. We identified four primary strategies for creating teachable moments: 1) positive reinforcement, 2) encouragement, 3) assessing readiness, and 4) offering concrete motivating reasons.Conclusions Most providers missed opportunities to offer teachable moments for smoking cessation. In encounters that contained teachable moments, providers employed multiple strategies, combining general advice with motivation tailored to the patient¿s particular circumstances. Creating motivational links to enhance smoking cessation efforts may be possible with a minimal investment of ED resources.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of this research is to improve the mental health care and outcomes of Latino children with mental health needs. This presentation examines the comparative effectiveness of an activation intervention for Latino parents raising children with mental health needs. Activation is a promising focus of research to eliminate disparities because it offers attitudes and skills that people can learn and use to support behavior change. Study Design: A randomized controlled trial was conducted to test the effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention designed to teach Latino mothers activation skills as compared to a support-group control. Mothers were surveyed in-person at baseline, one and 3 months (n=150). Survey data are triangulated with audiotapes of parent-provider conversation and child clinical records. A difference-in-difference approach was used to model the intervention effect with a mixed effects regression, controlling for child, parent and group characteristics. Outcome measures include mother’s level of activation and child therapy attendance. Principal Findings: Preliminary data indicate both groups experienced an increase in activation, but the increase was significant only in the intervention group (p<0.0000). At baseline, mothers’ activation was at a level characterized by a lack of confidence and knowledge to take action. At the end of the class, activation had increased to the threshold between the two upper levels: ‘Beginning to take action,’ and ‘Working to maintain behaviors over time.’ Conclusions: Activation skills are a promising strategy to improve child mental health service use, bridge cultural differences and reduce disparities with wide-ranging impacts on patient-centered mental health outcomes.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the direct and indirect means by which patients express a desire for analgesic medication. Back pain patients presenting to an academic ED were invited to participate in a study of patient-provider communication. Audio-recorded encounters were transcribed verbatim and transcripts analyzed using a qualitative approach based on conversation analysis. Requests for analgesics were documented in 15 out of 74 interactions (20%). We identified three basic patterns: direct requests, in which the patient explicitly asked for medication; indirect requests, in which the patient hinted at a desire for medication but did not ask for it outright; and no request, in which the provider discussed a prescription without the patient requesting it. Most patients did not request analgesics. When they did so, they utilized strategies of mitigation, indirection, and deference that presented themselves as deserving patients while upholding the physician's autonomy. Patients come to the clinical encounter with a variety of expectations, of which a desire for an analgesic may be only part of the picture. Rather than focusing on strategies for inuring providers to inappropriate patient requests, it may be useful to devote clinical resources to examining patients' priorities and expectations for treatment. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Patient Education and Counseling
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    ABSTRACT: Background Patients with multiple chronic conditions often have multiple prescribers, which has been associated with greater health care utilization and medication nonadherence in claims-based analyses. This qualitative study was conducted to understand the reasons why patients have increasing numbers of prescribers of medications and to understand patient perspectives on advantages and disadvantages of having multiple prescribers, including effects on medication supply.Methods This qualitative study involved three focus groups comprising 23 outpatients from a single Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center with at least one chronic cardiometabolic condition (hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, or congestive heart failure). Participants were asked about their experiences, including perceived of advantages and disadvantages, of having multiple prescribers of cardiometabolic medications. Conventional content analysis was used to analyze the data.ResultsMultiple prescribers arose through referrals and patients actively seeking non-VA prescribers (primary care and/or specialist) to maximize timeliness and access to medications, provide access to medications not on the VA formulary, and minimize out-of-pocket costs. Patients seeking non-VA care had to coordinate own their care by sharing prescriptions and test results to their prescribers within and outside VA.Conclusions Prescribing physicians should engage in open dialogue with patients to create a shared understanding of patient and provider goals and priorities for chronic disease medications.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To examine the association between socio-cultural factors and patient-provider communication and related racial differences Methods Data analysis included 1854 men with prostate cancer from a population-based study. Participants completed an assessment of communication variables, physician trust, perceived racism, religious beliefs, traditional health beliefs, and health literacy. A multi-group structural equation modeling approach was used to address the research aims. Results Compared with African Americans, Caucasian Americans had significantly greater mean scores of interpersonal treatment (p < 01), prostate cancer communication (p < .001), and physician trust (p < .001), but lower mean scores of religious beliefs, traditional health beliefs, and perceived racism (all p values < .001). For both African and Caucasian Americans, better patient-provider communication was associated with more physician trust, less perceived racism, greater religious beliefs (all p-values<.01), and at least high school education (p<.05). Conclusion(s) Socio-cultural factors are associated with patient-provider communication among men with cancer. No evidence supported associations differed by race. Practice implication To facilitate patient-provider communication during prostate cancer care, providers need to be aware of patient education levels, engage in behaviors that enhance trust, treat patients equally, respect religious beliefs, and reduce the difficulty level of the information.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Patient Education and Counseling

Publication Stats

2k Citations
274.08 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • University of North Carolina at Asheville
      Asheville, North Carolina, United States
  • 1996-2015
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • • Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy
      • • Eshelman School of Pharmacy
      • • Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
      North Carolina, United States
    • University of New Mexico
      • College of Pharmacy
      Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • 2006-2014
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2011
    • The School of Pharmacy
      • School of Pharmacy
      Pulborough village hall, England, United Kingdom
  • 2001
    • University of Baltimore
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States