The effects of process-focused versus experience-focused narratives in a breast cancer treatment decision task
Shaffer, Victoria A.
Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J.
MetadataShow full item record
Shaffer, Victoria; Hulsey, Lukas; Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J. 2013. The effects of process-focused versus experience-focused narratives in a breast cancer treatment decision task. Patient Education and Counseling, vol. 93:no. 2, November 2013:pp. 255–264
Objective: To examine the effect of patient narratives that discuss decision processes versus patient experiences on decisions about treatments for early stage breast cancer. Methods: We recruited 300 women with no previous history of breast cancer to imagine that they had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and to choose between mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiation. Before learning about their treatment options, participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions with videotaped stories from fictitious cancer survivors, using a 2 (content: experience versus process) x 2 (emotional valence: positive only vs. positive and negative) factorial design, or a control condition with no stories. We measured information search, treatment intentions, and decision satisfaction. Results: Participants viewing process narratives spent more time searching for information. Participants viewing experience narratives reported a greater ability to imagine what it was like to experience the treatments; they also evaluated their decision more positively on several dimensions. Conclusions: Process narratives appeared to guide information search, and experience narratives improved evaluations of the decision process. Practice implications: There is no evidence that process and experience narratives 'bias' decisions in the same manner as outcome narratives. Further, their potential to focus patient attention on key information and increase patient confidence in decision making appears significant.
Click on the DOI link to access the article (may not be free).