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Med Decis Making. 2004 May-Jun;24(3):265-71.

The effect of numerical statements of risk on trust and comfort with hypothetical physician risk communication.

Author information

1
Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. adg11@cornell.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To contribute to the debate about whether numeric statements of risk ought to be included in risk communications.

DESIGN:

Subjects (n = 115) completed a questionnaire involving a physician risk communication and 4 scenarios, each of which described a patient with symptoms and signs potentially suggestive of cancer. Each scenario was presented in 3 risk communication versions (a verbal version and 2 numeric versions) in a within-subject 4 x 3 design. Subjects rated their trust in and comfort with the information and their belief that the physician distorted their risk level.

RESULTS:

Subjects were significantly more trusting of (t =4.0, P < 0.001) and comfortable with (t =3.4, P = 0.001) the risk information, less likely to believe that the physician minimized the risk in the numeric versions than verbal versions (t =4.3, P < 0.0001), and just as likely to believe that the physician exaggerated the risk in the 2 versions (P = 0.588).

CONCLUSIONS:

Including a numeric statement of risk in a risk communication can increase trust and belief in and comfort with the risk information.

PMID:
15155015
DOI:
10.1177/0272989X04265482
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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