Associations between religiosity and medical mistrust: An age-stratified analysis of survey data from Black adults in Chicago


Medical mistrust is associated with poor health outcomes, ineffective disease management, lower utilization of preventive care, and lack of engagement in research. Mistrust of healthcare systems, providers, and institutions may be driven by previous negative experiences and discrimination, especially among communities of color, but religiosity may also influence the degree to which individuals develop trust with the healthcare system. The Black community has a particularly deep history of strong religious communities, and has been shown to have a stronger relationship with religion than any other racial or ethnic group. In order to address poor health outcomes in communities of color, it is important to understand the drivers of medical mistrust, which may include one's sense of religiosity. The current study used data from a cross-sectional survey of 537 Black individuals living in Chicago to understand the relationship between religiosity and medical mistrust, and how this differs by age group. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data for our sample. Adjusted stratified linear regressions, including an interaction variable for age group and religiosity, were used to model the association between religiosity and medical mistrust for younger and older people. The results show a statistically significant relationship for younger individuals. Our findings provide evidence for the central role the faith-based community may play in shaping young peoples' perceptions of medical institutions.

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