Decision-making styles in the context of colorectal cancer screening

Linda N. Douma, Ellen Uiters, Danielle R.M. Timmermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Our study examined the use of decision-making styles, as identified by Scott and Bruce (1995) (i.e. differentiating between a rational, intuitive, dependent, avoidant and spontaneous decision-making style), within the context of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening participation. In the field of cancer screening, informed decisionmaking is considered important, which follows the Rational Decision model. Subsequently, gaining more insight into decision-making styles being used in real life, could improve support to people when making their screening decision. In addition, we examined whether the decision-making style that people used was associated with their experienced decisional conflict. Methods: An online survey was carried out among a sample of first-time CRC screening invitees (1282 respondents, response rate 49%). We assessed people's decision-making styles, CRC screening participation, education level, self-reported health literacy, and decisional conflict, and examined the possible associations between them. Results: In our study, people who had to decide about CRC screening scored high on using both a rational and intuitive decision-making style. Respondents scoring higher on using a spontaneous or dependent decision-making style were more likely to have participated in CRC screening, while respondents scoring higher on using an avoidant decision-making style were more likely not to have participated in CRC screening. However, differences were small. Generally, people in our study experienced low decisional conflict. Conclusion: Our eligible CRC screening population scored high on using both a rational and intuitive decisionmaking style. To optimise support to people, public education materials could be appealing more to the intuitive processes at hand. That being said, the current education materials aimed at informed/rational decision-making do not necessarily seem to create a problem, as people generally experienced low decisional conflict. Possible concerns regarding the use of a spontaneous, dependent or avoidant decision-making style could be that these styles might be contributing to less informed decisions. However, it is relevant to consider that the found differences are small and that any possible concern applies to a relatively small group of people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalBMC Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • CRC screening
  • Cancer screening
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Decision-making
  • Decision-making styles

Cite this