A systematic search and review of the discrimination in health care measure, and its adaptations

Sheryl Thorburn, Olivia J. Lindly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Discrimination occurs in health care settings contributing to health inequities. Yet guidance on how best to measure discrimination in health care is still limited. Objectives: We sought to (1) identify and describe the characteristics of published studies that used the Discrimination in Health Care Measure, a scale first published in 2001; (2) review how the measure has been used or adapted and summarize the measure's published psychometric properties and its variations; and (3) summarize associations between the measure and health-related variables. Methods: We performed a systematic search and review of the measure by searching PsycINFO, PubMed, Sociological Abstracts, and Web of Science from January 1, 2001 through January 31, 2017. We screened 260 unique articles, identified 22 eligible articles, and completed a narrative synthesis. Results: Most studies measured race or ethnicity-based discrimination. All studies made minor revisions to the measure, and most reported high reliabilities. Discrimination in health care, using this measure, was associated with adverse health outcomes. Discussion and practice implications: Study results indicate that the measure is easy to use and adapt. Researchers should consider using the Discrimination in Health Care Measure when designing studies that will examine individuals’ discriminatory experiences when receiving health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1713
Number of pages11
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Discrimination
  • Health care
  • Measurement
  • Systematic review
  • Systematic search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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