Asian Americans Respond Less Favorably to Excitement (vs. Calm)-Focused Physicians Compared to European Americans

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Abstract

Objectives: Despite being considered a “model minority,” Asian Americans report worse health care encounters than do European Americans. This may be due to affective mismatches between Asian American patients and their European American physicians. We predicted that because Asian Americans value excitement (vs. calm) less than European Americans, they will respond less favorably to excitement-focused (vs. calm) physicians. Method: In Study 1, 198 European American, Chinese American, and Hong Kong Chinese community adults read a medical scenario and indicated their preference for an excitement-focused versus calm-focused physician. In Study 2, 81 European American and Asian American community college students listened to recommendations made by an excitement-focused or calm-focused physician in a video, and later attempted to recall the recommendations. In Study 3, 101 European American and Asian American middle-aged and older adults had multiple online encounters with an excitement-focused or calm-focused physician and then evaluated their physicians’ trustworthiness, competence, and knowledge. Results: As predicted, Hong Kong Chinese preferred excitement-focused physicians less than European Americans, with Chinese Americans falling in the middle (Study 1). Similarly, Asian Americans remembered health information delivered by an excitement-focused physician less well than did European Americans (Study 2). Finally, Asian Americans evaluated an excitement-focused physician less positively than did European Americans (Study 3). Conclusions: These findings suggest that while physicians who promote and emphasize excitement states may be effective with European Americans, they may be less so with Asian Americans and other ethnic minorities who value different affective states.

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