The Effects of Experienced Uncertainty and Patients' Assessments of Cancer-Related Information-Seeking Experiences on Fatalistic Beliefs and Trust in Physicians

Using the 2013 HINTS 4 Cycle 2 data representing a general population sample, this study investigates the effects of patients' experiences of uncertainty about prostate cancer during doctor-patient communication, as well as patients' positive assessments of their cancer-related information-seeking experiences, on their fatalistic beliefs regarding cancer and their trust in physicians.

Our tests show significant differences in trust in physicians among men who do and do not experience uncertainty about the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test during doctor-patient communication. The analysis also indicates that individuals with experiences of uncertainty about the PSA test are more likely than those without such experiences of uncertainty to place their trust in doctors. However, no apparent difference or association exists when there are uncertainties relating to treatment choices regarding slow-growing cancer or treatment side effects. Nevertheless, as hypothesized, individuals who positively evaluate their cancer-related information-seeking experiences are less likely to have fatalistic beliefs about cancer. Furthermore, patients' positive assessments are highly predictive of their levels of trust in their physicians. Additionally, tests of interaction effects show that individuals' levels of education moderate the association between uncertainty experiences about the PSA test and both cancer fatalism and trust in physicians. Further implications and limitations of the study are discussed.

Health communication. 2016 Apr 19 [Epub ahead of print]

Soo Jung Hong, Kyung Han You

a Department of Communication Arts and Sciences , Pennsylvania State University., b Minerva College of General Education , Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.


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