Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Misgivings of Medicine?: African Americans' Skepticism of Psychiatric Medication

Jason Schnittker
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Dec., 2003), pp. 506-524
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1519796
Page Count: 19
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Misgivings of Medicine?: African Americans' Skepticism of Psychiatric Medication
Preview not available

Abstract

Research has consistently documented black-white differences in rates of voluntary psychiatric treatment that cannot be reduced entirely to differences in either need or access. A variety of explanations have been offered for the gap that remains, but the empirical testing of alternative propositions has thus far been minimal. Using the 1998 General Social Survey's Pressing Issues in Health and Medical Care module (n = 1,387), I find consistent and substantial black-white differences in a variety of beliefs about psychiatric medications, one of the most common treatments for mental illness, and the predisposition to use them. Specifically, blacks express less willingness to use psychiatric medications themselves or to administer them to a child for whom they are responsible. Neither socioeconomic status, knowledge, religious involvement, nor trust in medicine appears to explain this reluctance. Rather, it stems almost entirely from blacks 'beliefs about psychiatric medications' efficacy and side-effects. The results indicate, first, that researchers should not assume that African Americans will use psychiatric medications at rates similar to whites if offered equal access. Second, the results indicate that blacks' skepticism of psychiatric medications may be rooted in specific beliefs about psychiatric medications, rather than general ideologies about medical practice. Health beliefs about psychiatric treatment, therefore, will continue to play an important role in understanding race differences in the use of psychiatric medications.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
506
    506
  • Thumbnail: Page 
507
    507
  • Thumbnail: Page 
508
    508
  • Thumbnail: Page 
509
    509
  • Thumbnail: Page 
510
    510
  • Thumbnail: Page 
511
    511
  • Thumbnail: Page 
512
    512
  • Thumbnail: Page 
513
    513
  • Thumbnail: Page 
514
    514
  • Thumbnail: Page 
515
    515
  • Thumbnail: Page 
516
    516
  • Thumbnail: Page 
517
    517
  • Thumbnail: Page 
518
    518
  • Thumbnail: Page 
519
    519
  • Thumbnail: Page 
520
    520
  • Thumbnail: Page 
521
    521
  • Thumbnail: Page 
522
    522
  • Thumbnail: Page 
523
    523
  • Thumbnail: Page 
524
    524