Women's decision-making about their health care: views over the life cycle

Patient Educ Couns. 2002 Dec;48(3):225-31. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(02)00175-1.


This paper describes a compilation and further analysis of three qualitative studies, conducted independently, on women's health care decisions. Key areas regarding women's health, which span the life cycle, were examined including prenatal genetic screening, hormone replacement therapy and the use of complementary/alternative medicine in the treatment of breast cancer. Common themes were evident across all the focus groups in each of the three studies including: women's information seeking behavior; reliance on trusted information sources; the desire for information sharing; active involvement in the decision-making process; and accepting the consequences of the final decision. The findings have important implications for health care professionals as they engage women in the decision-making process about health concerns.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Complementary Therapies / psychology
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Decision Making*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Genetic Testing / psychology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Ontario
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / psychology
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Women / psychology*
  • Women's Health*