Decision aids for older cancer patients: effects of modality and narration style on information recall


  • M. de Looper
  • O. Damman
  • E. Smets
  • D. Timmermans
  • J. van Weert


Background: Cancer patients are often involved in medical decision making. Especially for older cancer patients this can be difficult, as with aging, information processing changes and working memory capacity reduces. Decision aids have shown to be effective to some extent in improving decision making for older patients, but they seem insufficiently adapted to the changes in information processing and working memory that older patients face. The aim of this study is to investigate if two strategies that might reduce cognitive overload (modality and narration style) in a decision aid contribute to its effectiveness for older cancer patients. Method: A 2(Modality: visual vs. audiovisual) X 2(Narration style: narrative vs. factual) X 2(Age: <70 years vs. >70 years) experiment will be conducted. Effectiveness will be measured in terms of information recall and informed decision making. Data will be collected in April 2017 amongst 210 analogue cancer patients, recruited via an online panel. Regression analysis will be carried out to analyse the data. Expected findings: We expect audiovisual information to result in more recall than visual information only and that narrative information results in more recall than factual information. Besides, we expect that modality and narration style interact; the audiovisual, narrative condition will outperform the other conditions. Additionally, the effects are expected to be greater in older adults than in younger adults. Current stage of work: Designing and pre-testing stimulus materials. Discussion: Information provided in decision aids aimed at older cancer patients can be improved by applying the knowledge gained from this study.





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