Health Self-Efficacy and Race: The Hidden Barriers

There is a longstanding pattern that demonstrates a large gap in health outcomes for people of color due to barriers brought upon by social structures—financial constraints, language, access to transportation, health insurance, and more.

race health

But do they also impact people’s confidence in their ability to manage their own health? Absolutely, according to research by Assistant Professor of Psychology Mora Reinka and Ursinus graduates Julianna Berardi and Emily Jobson.

People who are more conscientious have higher self-efficacy and feel better suited to, say, making a doctor appointment or managing prescribed medicines and treatments. However, there are societal issues at play, too, and Reinka’s study—which draws upon public data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Research and Development Corporation—showed that barriers that prevent access to care directly impact the way a person feels about managing their own health.

“We could work on intervening in that level of health self-efficacy with minoritized groups—helping them feel more comfortable going to a doctor or reading prescription labels—and if we do that, maybe we can help improve their overall health outcomes,” Reinka said. “But there’s much more at play.”