Discrepancy in Ratings of Shared Decision Making Between Patients and Health Professionals: A Cross Sectional Study in Mental Health Care

Front Psychol. 2020 Mar 24;11:443. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00443. eCollection 2020.


Background: A defined goal in mental health care is to increase the opportunities for patients to more actively participate in their treatment. This goal includes integrating aspects of user empowerment and shared decision-making (SDM) into treatment courses. To achieve this goal, more knowledge is needed about how patients and therapists perceive this integration.

Objective: To explore patient experiences of SDM, to describe differences between patient and therapist experiences, and to identify patient factors that might reduce SDM experiences for patients compared to the experiences of their therapists.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 992 patients that had appointments with 267 therapists at Sørlandet Hospital, Division of Mental Health during a 1-week period. Both patients and therapists completed the CollaboRATE questionnaire, which was used to rate SDM experiences. Patients reported demographic and treatment-related information. Therapists provided clinical information.

Results: The analysis included 953 patient-therapist responder pairs that completed the CollaboRATE questionnaire. The mean SDM score was 80.7 (SD 20.8) among patients, and 86.6 (SD 12.1) among therapists. Females and patients that did not use medication for mental health disorders reported higher SDM scores than males and patients that used psychiatric medications (83.3 vs. 77.7; p < 0.001 and 82.6 vs. 79.8; p = 0.03, respectively). Patients with diagnoses involving psychotic symptoms reported lower SDM scores than all the other patients (66.8 vs. 82.3; p < 0.001). The probability that a patient would report lower SDM scores than their therapist was highest among patients that received involuntary treatment (OR 3.2, p = 0.02), patients with treatment durations longer than 2.2 years (OR 1.9, p = 0.001), and patients that required day care or in-patient care (OR 3.2, p = 0.01 and OR 3.2, p < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion: We showed that both therapists and patients reported good SDM experiences in decisional situations, which indicated that SDM was implemented well. However, the SDM scores reported by in-patients and patients with prolonged or involuntary treatments were significantly lower than scores reported by their therapists. Our findings suggested that it remains a struggle in mental health care to establish a common understanding between patients and therapists in decisional processes regarding treatments for some patient groups.

Keywords: Collaborate; SDM; Shared decison-making; mental health care; psychosis; user involvement.