A Comparison of Implicit Bias Between Two Doctorate of Physical Therapy Programs

Research Category: Health Sciences
Presenter: Lauren Morrison
Additional Authors: Haig Haroutunian, Sonya Larrieux
PI: Sonya Larrieux

Background: Implicit racial bias (IRB) is the unconscious attitudes that are elicited towards a particular race. In this continuation of a longitudinal cohort study, IRB towards European Americans (EA) and African Americans (AA) will be measured. The IRB between two Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs were compared.

Methods: A convenience sample of 33 students from Northeastern University’s (NU) graduating class of 2019 Post-Baccalaureate DPT students, and 29 students from Florida International University’s (FIU) 2019 graduating DPT class are being used. The degree of IRB of each participant was measured via the Implicit Association Test (IAT). This portion of the study compares FIU’s and NU’s student’s degree of IRB as well as the differences within the FIU cohort based on gender, and self-identified race/ethnicity using descriptive statistics.

Results: Preference of EA over AA for FIU and NU is 79.31% and 69.70% respectively, while neutral preference is 20.69% and 15.15%. Of the FIU students, 88.33% of those identifying as “white” and 76.47% identifying as “nonwhite” had a preference for EA>AA.

Strengths and limitations: The IAT is a measure that has proven to be valid and reliable in assessing one’s implicit bias. The study provides the ability for participants to become self-aware of their IRB. Limitations include a small convenience sample, and differences in the researcher physically present during test administration.

Conclusion: Through awareness of degree of IRB and continuous introspection, IRB can be reduced, in turn providing greater patient care and satisfaction.