Clinician Bias in Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Danielle R. HairstonEmail author
  • Tresha A. Gibbs
  • Shane Shucheng Wong
  • Ayana Jordan
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


Clinicians’ attitudes and biases, both implicit and explicit, contribute to disparities in psychiatric care. Biases impact medication dosing and choices, use of restraints, the level of care, and involuntary commitment, especially in the treatment of black patients. Stigma, lower socioeconomic status, and limited access to care contribute to differences in management of patients’ mental health needs. However, the impact of stereotypical beliefs about black and other racial minorities on diagnosis and treatment cannot be ignored. The ideal clinical encounter is one in which both the provider and the patient are keenly aware of the impact of racism and bias on mental health, and they are both able to freely discuss the experience and consequences of racism. This chapter identifies evidence of bias in mental health care and discusses strategies for avoiding common pitfalls that negatively impact the care of racial minorities.


Implicit bias Explicit bias Clinician bias Disparities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle R. Hairston
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tresha A. Gibbs
    • 2
  • Shane Shucheng Wong
    • 3
  • Ayana Jordan
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Consultation—Liaison PsychiatryUniversity of Maryland Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Harlem Hospital Health + Hospitals CorporationColumbia College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Connecticut Mental Health Center, Department of PsychiatryYale New Haven Hospital, Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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