Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kathryn Nowotny

Second Committee Member

Marvin Dawkins

Third Committee Member

Karoline Mortensen


Racial and ethnic minorities, and in particular African Americans, have had a long-standing battle of mistrust with the health care system due to previous discriminatory acts. Consequently, many minorities have lower levels of trust in physicians and the larger healthcare system. The purpose of this study is to examine racial and ethnic disparities and the moderating effects of patient satisfaction on perceived quality of health care treatment among adults who recently utilized health care services. Guided by critical race theoretical framework and cultural health capital, this study extends the literature by documenting the interrelationship between race/ethnic identity, socioeconomic status, patient satisfaction, and perceived quality of health care. Data are from a subsample (n=13,112) of adults who reported going to the doctor in the past year (2014) in the nationally representative 2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). I combine four self-administered questionnaire response measures of patient satisfaction on a scale and dichotomize and reverse-code perceived quality health care for methodological purposes. Multivariate results indicate that minorities, specifically non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic others are significantly more likely to perceive poor quality health care, controlling for all socio-demographic factors. Policy implications should provide incentives for physicians to ensure they are meeting patient requirements while still making sure they are able to do their jobs effectively. Also, providing patients with proper tools and resources to ensure all patients, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status receive quality health care and are prepared to ask questions and understand information more effectively.


Health Disparities; Patient Satisfaction; Quality Health Care Treatment; Socioeconomic Status; Critical Race Theory; Cultural Health Capital