Heteronormativity and practitioner-patient interaction.
Heteronormativity is the presumption of heterosexuality as the default sexual orientation and can result in discrimination against the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) population. This study serves as one of the first experimental studies to examine heteronormative perceptions in communication and their effects on practitioner-patient relationships. LGB participants were randomly assigned to read either heteronormative or non-heteronormative vignettes of a doctor-patient interaction. They then indicated how much health-relevant information they would disclose to the doctor in the vignette and their level of trust in the doctor. In the heteronormative condition, participants were less likely to disclose health-relevant information to the doctor in the vignette and were less trustful of the doctor as compared to those in the non-heteronormative condition. These results have important health implications, as lack of disclosure and trust may prevent people from getting needed care and prevent doctors from giving the best health advice possible. The results of this study provide further evidence that there is a need for more education for all health care professionals to feel comfortable while respectfully communicating with and treating patients who do not identify as heterosexual in order to ensure the best health care experience.
Utamsingh, PD; Richman, LS; Martin, JL; Lattanner, MR; Chaikind, JR
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