Can non-medical factors contribute to disparities in coronary heart disease treatments?

Janice M. Barnhart, Oshra Cohen, Natania Wright, Judith Wylie-Rosett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Racial/ethnic and sex disparities in coronary heart disease treatment exist. We previously reported that physicians perceive non-clinical variables, such as a patient's desire for a second opinion, as affecting revascularization decisions. The results of that study are further examined here, using factor analysis to identify significant interrelationships among the non-clinical variables, which could contribute to disparities in coronary revascularization (i.e., percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty [PTCA] or coronary artery bypass graft [CABG]). Five content themes emerged using factor analysis; these are related to the patient's socioeconomic/lifestyle status, treatment preference, physician interaction, health-assertiveness, and aggressiveness. For the lifestyle theme, family physicians had higher mean scores (14.8) than internists, cardiologists, and cardiothoracic surgeons (13.7, 13.6, and 12.6, respectively; overall p=.001); women had higher mean scores than men (15.0 vs. 13.7; p=.009). This implies that family medicine and female physicians perceived variables pertaining to patients' socioeconomic status or lifestyle (e.g., financial barriers, unlikely to adopt healthy behaviors) as precluding some patients from being revascularized. Additionally, female, more than male, physicians (15.0 vs. 13.6; p=.006) perceived health assertive patients (e.g., involved in treatment decisions, will quit smoking) as having easier access to the procedures. The results of the present analysis suggest that disparities in cardiac care arise from complex psychosocial interactions, which are influenced by characteristics of the physician as well as the patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-574
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Disparities
  • Health belief model
  • Heart disease
  • Non-medical factors
  • Perceptions
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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