• Journal Article

Testing the effects of a decision aid for prostate cancer screening


Rubel, S. K., Miller, J. W., Stephens, R. L., Xu, Y., Scholl, L. E., Holden, E., ... Volk, R. J. (2010). Testing the effects of a decision aid for prostate cancer screening. Journal of Health Communication, 15(3), 307-321. DOI: 10.1080/10810731003686614


There is an ever-growing trend toward more patient involvement in making health care decisions. This trend has been accompanied by the development of “informed decision-making” interventions to help patients become more engaged and comfortable with making these decisions. We describe the effects of a prostate cancer screening decision aid on knowledge, beliefs about screening, risk perception, control preferences, decisional conflict, and decisional anxiety. Data were collected from 200 males aged 50-70 years in the general population who randomly were assigned to exposure to the decision aid or no exposure as a control condition. A Solomon four-group design was used to test for possible pretest sensitization effects and to assess the effects of exposure to the decision aid. No significant pretest sensitization effects were found. Analysis of the exposure effects found that knowledge increased significantly for those exposed to the decision aid compared with those unexposed. Exposure to the decision aid also had some influence on decreasing both decisional conflict and decisional anxiety. Decision aids can play an important role in increasing patients' knowledge and decreasing anxiety when asked to make health care decisions