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, 31 Suppl 1, S47-56

Making Numbers Matter: Present and Future Research in Risk Communication

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Making Numbers Matter: Present and Future Research in Risk Communication

Angela Fagerlin et al. Am J Health Behav.

Abstract

Objective: To summarize existing research on individual numeracy and methods for presenting risk information to patients.

Methods: We selectively retrieved articles from MEDLINE and the Social Sciences Citation Index.

Results: Many Americans have low numeracy skills, a deficit that impedes effective health care. Approaches to risk communication vary in current practice, but how risks are presented can significantly affect both patients' risk perceptions and their knowledge.

Conclusions: Adhering to some basic principles for presenting risk information to patients can improve understanding. However, different risk-communication methods may be needed for individuals with high versus low levels of numeracy.

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