A communication model of shared decision making: accounting for cancer treatment decisions

Health Psychol. 2005 Jul;24(4S):S99-S105. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.4.S99.


The authors present a communication model of shared decision making (CMSDM) that explicitly identifies the communication process as the vehicle for decision making in cancer treatment. In this view, decision making is necessarily a sociocommunicative process whereby people enter into a relationship, exchange information, establish preferences, and choose a course of action. The model derives from contemporary notions of behavioral decision making and ethical conceptions of the doctor-patient relationship. This article briefly reviews the theoretical approaches to decision making, notes deficiencies, and embeds a more socially based process into the dynamics of the physician-patient relationship, focusing on cancer treatment decisions. In the CMSDM, decisions depend on (a) antecedent factors that have potential to influence communication, (b) jointly constructed communication climate, and (c) treatment preferences established by the physician and the patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics
  • United States