Objective: To measure the need for information about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the level of desire for involvement in treatment decisions among patients with RA. To examine the relationship between these preferences and what factors (sociodemographic, disease, treatment, level of disability, and level of knowledge about RA) associate with these preferences.
Methods: Questionnaire surveys were mailed to a randomly selected group of 600 patients with RA. Need for information and desire for involvement in decision making were measured using a validated tool (the Autonomy Preference Index).
Results: The response rate was 57.3%. The need for information was very high. Information seeking preference scores (median 82.5, interquartile range 80.0-92.5) were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than decision making preference scores (mean +/- SD 56.4 +/- 13.6). Need for information and for decision making were both higher in women than men, and associations with these needs differed in men and women. However, younger age and greater knowledge of RA predicted greater need for decision making. There was no correlation between need for information and for involvement in treatment decisions for either sex (women: r(s) = 0.09, P = 0.19; men: r(s) = -0.06, P = 0.54).
Conclusion: There was a high level of need for information among patients with RA. Desire for involvement in treatment decision making was significantly lower and did not correlate with need for information. Associations with these needs differed for men and women.