Background: Primary healthcare (PHC) physicians’ attitudes and decision-making contribute significantly to stereotypes and thus to several disparities in provided health care. This study aimed to explore implicit stereotyping among PHC physicians and to identify determinants of physicians’ stereotyping of patients based on the patients’ characteristics and appearance.
Methods: This study followed an analytical cross-sectional design. It was conducted during the period from October 2019 till December 2019, and included 250 PHC physicians in Aseer Region, Saudi Arabia. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire, which included items concerning physicians’ sociodemographic characteristics and their attitudes toward patient characteristics and patient appearance.
Results: Prevalence of stereotyping among PHC physicians was 63.6% with respect to patient characteristics and 57.6% with respect to patient appearance. Stereotyping based on patient characteristics was higher among younger participants, females, those with bachelor’s degrees, those in general practitioner positions, and those with less experience in PHC.
Conclusion: Most PHC physicians in Aseer Region are liable to implicit stereotyping based on patient characteristics (e.g., gender and educational level) and patient appearance (e.g., clothing). Therefore, it is recommended to train PHC physicians in cultural competency to reduce unintentional acts of discrimination toward their patients.
Keywords— Prevalence, Stereotyped behavior, Primary health care, Saudi Arabia