Preferred roles in treatment decision making among patients with cancer: a pooled analysis of studies using the Control Preferences Scale

Am J Manag Care. 2010 Sep;16(9):688-96.


Objectives: To collect normative data, assess differences between demographic groups, and indirectly compare US and Canadian medical systems relative to patient expectations of involvement in cancer treatment decision making.

Study design: Meta-analysis.

Methods: Individual patient data were compiled across 6 clinical studies among 3491 patients with cancer who completed the 2-item Control Preferences Scale indicating the roles they preferred versus actually experienced in treatment decision making.

Results: The roles in treatment decision making that patients preferred were 26% active, 49% collaborative, and 25% passive. The roles that patients reported actually experiencing were 30% active, 34% collaborative, and 36% passive. Roughly 61% of patients reported having their preferred role; only 6% experienced extreme discordance between their preferred versus actual roles. More men than women (66% vs 60%, P = .001) and more US patients than Canadian patients (84% vs 54%, P <.001) reported concordance between their preferred versus actual roles. More Canadian patients than US patients preferred and actually experienced (42% vs 18%, P <.001) passive roles. More women than men reported taking a passive role (40% vs 24%, P <.001). Older patients preferred and were more likely than younger patients to assume a passive role.

Conclusions: Roughly half of the studied patients with cancer indicated that they preferred to have a collaborative relationship with physicians. Although most patients had the decision-making role they preferred, about 40% experienced discordance. This highlights the need for incorporation of individualized patient communication styles into treatment plans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Role*
  • United States