An Exploration of Psychologists’ Possible Bias in Response to Evangelical Christian Patients: Preliminary Findings

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This pilot study examines psychologists’ responses to explicit measures of empathy for, and prognosis of, an Evangelical Christian (EC) vignette patient and a comparable vignette patient whose religion is not mentioned (NMR), and their implicit responding to EC versus Secular targets on the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The association of their implicit and explicit responding was explored. Liberality of attitudes toward Christian concepts was associated with less cognitive and affective empathy and a poorer prognosis for the EC versus the NMR patient, and negative responding to EC targets on the IAT. Psychologists did not utilize their self-reported motivation to control prejudice to moderate negative associations with EC targets on explicit responses to the EC patient. Implications for psychologists and EC patients are explored.

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