Racism and ageism in health care - a comparison between Germany, the Netherlands and Indonesia

Karina Hoekstra-Wibowo, Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover

This paper studies racism and ageism in health care in Germany, the Netherlands and Indonesia. One might expect that health professionals in particular have the responsibility to maintain health equality. Inequality leading to discrimination in health care can have major consequences like dying earlier. In order to study racism and ageism in health care, physicians took part in a vignette study, with videos displaying patients (played by actors) describing their symptoms. Based on this, the physician had to categorize the disease, give recommendations, and estimate the character of the patient. Furthermore, attitudes toward the elderly and immigrants were measured, in order to test whether discrimination occurs due to attitudes and stereotypes. Due to the negative stereotypes and attitudes towards the elderly, ageism occurred negatively in Germany and the Netherlands. Furthermore, due to negative stereotypes and attitudes towards immigrants, racism occurred negatively in all three countries. However, racism occurred much stronger in Indonesia than in the Western countries. Following conclusion can be stated: A negative attitude and prejudices towards a social group leads to physicians treating the person in this social group badly, while a positive attitude and prejudices towards a social group leads to physicians treating the person in this social group well. More studies are required to fill the research gap on racism and ageism in the German, Dutch and Indonesian healthcare, and to encourage the social and political changes needed to eliminate this form of discrimination especially in health care due to the vital effects. A suggestion is to bring medical students in contact with the elderly or migrants because the better relationship, the less discrimination occurs.

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Presented in Poster Session 3