Doctor Visits Are Often a Bad Experience for African American Men

Laura Bailey, Medical News Today, January 31, 2011

A majority of African American men said they do not go to the doctor because visits are stressful and physicians don’t give adequate information on how to make prescribed behavior or lifestyle changes, a new University of Michigan study shows.

When they did go, the majority of the 105 men questioned said they disliked the tone physicians used with them. When those men did visit the doctor, they said it was because they were seeking test results or their family encouraged them to go.

Men often said they knew they needed to lose weight, change eating habits or become more physically active before visiting the doctor. They hoped the doctor would help them figure out how to make those behavioral and lifestyle changes without sacrificing time with spouses and children. The men in the focus groups explained that adopting healthy behaviors was more complex than simple motivation and that doctors didn’t understand that a healthier lifestyle meant the men had to give up other meaningful activities.

“That’s usually not the story that’s told,” said Derek Griffith, assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study. Julie Ober Allen and Katie Gunter of U-M SPH are co-authors.

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