Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work


Social Work

Committee Chair

Dr. Robin Lennon-Dearing

Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Hirschi

Committee Member

Susan Elswick

Committee Member

Minhae Cho

Committee Member

Melissa Hirschi


Research has shown that social determinants of health, healthcare disparities, and historical trauma have contributed to inferior health outcomes for minority groups in the United States compared to their white counterparts. This qualitative research explores how healthcare providers perceive their own unconscious or implicit biases, which could potentially impact patient treatment outcomes. Bias is defined as a lack of objectivity combined with a preference for a particular person, group, or item. Data were collected using a multidisciplinary sample of healthcare treatment providers who participated in semi-structured individual interviews with the researcher. Twenty-six participants were interviewed with the same questions and in similar settings using narrative and critical race theories and critical discourse analysis conceptual framework. Content analysis indicated emerging themes that affected the participants' unconscious or implicit biases, including the environment in which participants were raised, a sense of commitment to community and educational achievement, and reverse bias. Research using self-assessments has consistently revealed that providers have an exaggeratedly positive appraisal of their personal self-awareness and response to bias. Participants in this study tended to underestimate their biases and overestimate their ability to treat patients free of prejudices. Health providers’ attitudes and perceptions within various healthcare settings have substantial implications for the experiences of patients who pursue preventative care vs. emergent care. Results suggest that training providers on culturally responsive patient care approach and increased community engagement will enable them to better understand implicit and explicit biases and thus more effectively meet their patients’ healthcare needs.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access