Racial-Ethnic Biases, Time Pressure, and Medical Decisions

Academic Article


  • This study examined two types of potential sources of racial-ethnic disparities in medical care: implicit biases and time pressure. Eighty-one family physicians and general internists responded to a case vignette describing a patient with chest pain. Time pressure was manipulated experimentally. Under high time pressure, but not under low time pressure, implicit biases regarding blacks and Hispanics led to a less serious diagnosis. In addition, implicit biases regarding blacks led to a lower likelihood of a referral to specialist when physicians were under high time pressure. The results suggest that when physicians face stress, their implicit biases may shape medical decisions in ways that disadvantage minority patients. © American Sociological Association 2012.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stepanikova I
  • Start Page

  • 329
  • End Page

  • 343
  • Volume

  • 53
  • Issue

  • 3