Communicating information concerning potential medication harms and benefits: What gist do numbers convey?

Susan J. Blalock, Adam Sage, Michael Bitonti, Payal Patel, Rebecca Dickinson, Peter Knapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations

Abstract

Objectives Fuzzy trace theory was used to examine the effect of information concerning medication benefits and side-effects on willingness to use a hypothetical medication. Methods Participants (N = 999) were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Using 3 × 5 experimental research design, each participant viewed information about medication side effects in 1 of 3 formats and information about medication benefits in 1 of 5 formats. For both side-effects and benefits, one format presented only non-numeric information and the remaining formats presented numeric information. Results Individuals in the non-numeric side-effect condition were less likely to take the medication than those in the numeric conditions (p < 0.0001). In contrast, individuals in the non-numeric benefit condition were more likely to take the medication than those in the numeric conditions (p < 0.0001). Conclusions Our findings suggest that non-numeric side-effect information conveys the gist that the medication can cause harm, decreasing willingness to use the medication; whereas non-numeric benefit information has the opposite effect. Practice implications Presenting side-effect and benefit information in non-numeric format appears to bias decision-making in opposite directions. Providing numeric information for both benefits and side-effects may enhance decision-making. However, providing numeric benefit information may decrease adherence, creating ethical dilemmas for providers.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages1964-1970
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume99
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

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Research Design
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Keywords

  • Fuzzy trace theory
  • Gist
  • Medications
  • Risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Communicating information concerning potential medication harms and benefits : What gist do numbers convey? / Blalock, Susan J.; Sage, Adam; Bitonti, Michael; Patel, Payal; Dickinson, Rebecca; Knapp, Peter.

In: Patient Education and Counseling, Vol. 99, No. 12, 01.12.2016, p. 1964-1970.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Blalock, Susan J. ; Sage, Adam ; Bitonti, Michael ; Patel, Payal ; Dickinson, Rebecca ; Knapp, Peter. / Communicating information concerning potential medication harms and benefits : What gist do numbers convey?. In: Patient Education and Counseling. 2016 ; Vol. 99, No. 12. pp. 1964-1970
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