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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pediatric Experiences of Family-Centered Care



Previous studies have examined racial and ethnic disparities in the receipt of family-centered care among children with special health care needs and health plan enrollees, but the extent of disparities in the general pediatric population remains unclear.


To examine racial and ethnic disparities in the receipt of family-centered care among a general population of US children.


Linked data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Health Interview Survey (2003-2006) were used to study 4 family-centered care items and an overall composite measure of family-centered care. Adjusted models examined the extent to which child characteristics, socioeconomic, and access to care factors explained racial and ethnic disparities in the provision of family-centered care.


Black children have similar experiences as white children on overall family-centered care and on each of the 4 components of family-centered care in models that adjust for child characteristics and socioeconomic factors. In contrast, differences in dimensions of and overall family-centered care between white children and Latino children, irrespective of interview language, persist after multivariate adjustment.


Future research should examine the extent to which Latino-white differences in the receipt of family-centered care can be narrowed with programs and policies geared at improving parental education, health literacy, the quality of provider communication, and quality improvement strategies for health care systems.

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