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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.2014010428
pages 205-212

A Qualitative Study of Factors Underlying Decision Making for Joint Replacement among African Americans and Latinos with Osteoarthritis

Michael L. Parks
Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York
Jennifer Hebert-Beirne
University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois
Mary Rojas
Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York
Leah Tuzzio
Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
Charles L. Nelson
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Carla Boutin-Foster
Center of Excellence in Disparities Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York


To support patients in making decisions that align with their unique cultural beliefs, an understanding of factors underlying patient preferences is needed. We sought to identify psychosocial factors that influenced decision making among African-American and Hispanic patients referred for knee or hip arthroplasty. Thirty-six participants deciding on surgery were interviewed. Responses were audio-taped, transcribed, and read. Codes were assigned to the raw data and then clustered into categories that were analyzed to yield overarching themes. This process was repeated independently by two corroborators. Six categories described the mental calculations made in patients' decision-making processes: 1) self-assessment of fit for surgery based on age and comorbidity, 2) research and development of mental report cards of their surgeons, 3) reliving of social network experiences, 4) reliance on faith and spirituality for guidance, 5) acknowledgment of fear and anxiety, and 6) setting expectations for recovery. This study advanced the understanding of how decisions about joint replacement are constructed and identified cultural levers that can be targeted for intervention. Developing culturally tailored health information that addresses some of our findings and disseminating messages through social networks may reduce the underutilization of joint replacement among racial and ethnic minority populations.