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Med Decis Making. 1999 Oct-Dec;19(4):428-34.

How should effectiveness of risk communication to aid patients' decisions be judged? A review of the literature.

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Department of General Practice, University of Wales College of Medicine, Llanedeyrn Health Centre, Cardiff, Wales, UK.


Risk-communication interventions are associated with benefits at both the individual and the public health level. However, the types of outcomes used to assess the effectiveness of risk-communication interventions vary greatly. This makes synthesis of the research in systematic review difficult, and limits both the implementation of advances in clinical practice and further research. This article reviews the outcomes used in risk-communication publications, particularly those addressing individual decisions about treatment. From the traditional cognitive and behavioral research outcomes of patient knowledge, risk perception, and compliance, the emphasis has shifted towards more affective outcomes, including satisfaction, assessment of the information provided and the decision-making process, and certainty about whether the best option has been chosen. These affective outcomes may be more specific and sensitive measures for risk-communication research. Further development and validation of measurement scales to address these issues is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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