The present study explored the degree to which patients prefer to become informed about and to participate in their medical care. A total of 256 cancer patients completed an Information Styles Questionnaire and the Beck Hopelessness Scale. Patients' behavior and beliefs were found to incorporate the contemporary standard of informed and active involvement. Significant age trends were found: The younger the patients, the more closely they conformed to the well-informed participant standard of patient behavior; the older the patients, the more likely they were to prefer the older, nonparticipatory patient role. Patients who wanted to be involved in treatment decisions were significantly more hopeful than others. Most patients in each age group displayed high levels of hope, preferences for open communication about their illness, and a desire for maximum amounts of information.