The Moderating Role of Clinical Experience in the Relationship Between Patient Characteristics, Attributed Barriers to Mammography, Beliefs About Cancer, and Clinical Decisions: a Study of Israeli Arab Physicians

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J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 Mar 5. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01008-5. Online ahead of print.


This study examined whether clinical experience moderates the relationship between three potential physician biases (patient characteristics; cancer-related beliefs, i.e., traditional and fatalistic beliefs; and attributed barriers to mammogram performance) and clinical decisions (recommending and discussing mammography with Arab women patients). A survey was conducted among 146 randomly sampled (cluster sampling) Arab physicians who serve the Arab population in Israel. We found that the least experienced physicians recommended and discussed mammography to a lesser extent than experienced doctors. Less experienced physicians were also less inclined to discuss and recommend mammography to women with specific characteristics (religious women, women with lower education levels, and women who expressed high fatalistic beliefs) and held significantly higher traditional beliefs concerning cancer. The correlation between patient characteristics and clinical decision making was both direct and moderated by clinical experience (stronger for the least experienced and moderately experienced physicians). Cancer-related beliefs had a direct negative effect on recommending and discussing mammography. The findings suggest that greater clinical experience with Arab women patients might reduce physician bias pertaining to patient characteristics among less experienced doctors who serve patients of the same ethnicity. Nonetheless, the findings imply that anti-stigma interventions should not rely on prolonged contact and should be implemented among all physicians, regardless of their clinical experience.

PMID:33666896 | DOI:10.1007/s40615-021-01008-5