Exploring dental patients' preferred roles in treatment decision-making - A novel approach

H. Chapple, S. Shah, A. L. Caress, E. J. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To assess the transferability of the Control Preferences Scale to dental settings and to explore patients' preferred and perceived roles in dental treatment decision-making. Setting and participants: A convenience sample of 40 patients, 20 recruited from the University Dental Hospital of Manchester and 20 from a general dental practice in Cheshire. Methods: A cross-sectional survey, using the Control Preferences Scale, a set of sort cards outlining five decisional roles (active, semi-active, collaborative, semi-passive, passive), slightly modified for use in dental settings. A second set of cards was used to identify perceived decisional role. Rationale for choice of preferred role was recorded verbatim. Results: The Control Preferences Scale was found to be transferable to dental settings. All patients in the sample had identifiable preferences regarding their role in treatment decision-making. A collaborative decisional role, with patient and dentist equally sharing responsibility for decision-making, was most popular at both sites. However, patients at both sites typically perceived themselves as attaining a passive role in treatment decisions. Lack of knowledge about dentistry and trust in the dentist were reported contributors to a passive decisional role preference, whilst those with more active role preferences gave rationales consistent with a consumerist stance. Conclusions: This exploratory study's findings suggest that dental patients have distinct preferences in relation to treatment decision-making role and that these may not always be met during consultations with their dentist. The Control Preferences Scale appears to be appropriate for use in dental settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


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