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decision support, empowerment, experimental design, patient preference



  1. Kerstholt, Jose H. PhD
  2. Wieringa, Olivier BSc
  3. Bart, Hans MSc
  4. van der Zwaard, Fred MSc


An important decision that terminally ill patients may face is where they want to spend the last period of their lives. To support patients in making this choice, a decision aid was developed. In the present study, we investigated whether participants could better withstand opinions against their favored option when they had consulted this decision aid as compared with a control condition. In all, 64 healthy participants took part in the experiment. They were probed four times to indicate the probability that they would choose to die at home: (1) before the experimental manipulation, (2) after consulting the decision aid (or in the control condition after reading the textual information), (3) after hearing arguments against their preferred option, and (4) after a delay of 2 weeks. The results showed that participants who had consulted the decision aid remained consistent in their opinion concerning the home option. Participants in the control condition became more negative toward the home option after hearing the counterarguments and even more so after 2 weeks. It is argued that consulting the decision aid empowered participants as to be able to make more deliberate and committed choices.