Objective: To quantify preference for disclosure of information among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to examine sex-specific correlates of information preference.
Methods: We interviewed patients with RA and assessed preference for disclosure of information using 4 questions from the previously validated "Information Preference Seeking Scale." Three questions addressed preference for disclosure of side effects and 1 question addressed preference for disclosure of therapeutic options. Associations between preference for information and patient characteristics were examined using stepwise multiple linear regression.
Results: One hundred RA patients (mean age 68+/-12 years; 73% female) were interviewed; 89 respondents agreed or strongly agreed with all 4 statements reflecting a preference for full disclosure, and an additional 8 respondents agreed or strongly agreed with 3 of the 4 statements. The mean score (+/- SD) for information preference was 86+/-13, on a scale from 0 to 100 where 100 reflected a strong preference for full disclosure. In bivariate analyses, female sex and current employment were associated with stronger preferences for being informed (mean score for women 88+/-11, for men 80+/-15 [P = 0.02]; for employed 92+/-11, for unemployed 84+/-13 [P = 0.04]). Multivariate sex-specific analyses demonstrated that current employment and higher education level were positively associated with preference for disclosure among women and men, respectively.
Conclusion: The results of our survey suggest that RA patients want to be fully informed about the risks associated with medications and about alternative options. The challenge remaining for rheumatologists is how to effectively communicate the risks and benefits related to the many options that are currently available for RA patients.