Background: As patients become more involved in health care decisions, there may be greater opportunity for decision regret. The authors could not find a validated, reliable tool for measuring regret after health care decisions.
Methods: A 5-item scale was administered to 4 patient groups making different health care decisions. Convergent validity was determined by examining the scale's correlation with satisfaction measures, decisional conflict, and health outcome measures.
Results: The scale showed good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.81 to 0.92). It correlated strongly with decision satisfaction (r = -0.40 to -0.60), decisional conflict (r = 0.31 to 0.52), and overall rated quality of life (r = -0.25 to -0.27). Groups differing on feelings about a decision also differed on rated regret: F(2, 190) = 31.1, P < 0.001. Regret was greater among those who changed their decisions than those who did not, t(175) = 16.11, P < 0.001.
Conclusions: The scale is a useful indicator of health care decision regret at a given point in time.