Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Frank Scalzo

Project Advisor 2

Sarah Ketay

Abstract/Artist's Statement

An important component in quality health care is the communication between patients and their physicians because critical decisions are often made during these interactions. The development of a consumerist health care model has led to the emergence of patient participation in the decision making process. This change from paternalism to consumerism has altered the communication dynamic between patients and physicians, an important component of optimal health care. Patients of both genders can now assume one of three roles while interacting with a physician, but gender typically influences their preference for participation. Women typically want more autonomy than men when making a decision about their health. The possible determinants for this gender difference have yet to be examined. Understanding the distinction between men and women would be beneficial for the development of an intervention that was meant to improve patient-physician communication. This senior project explored the psychosocial determinants of women’s health decision making and how these factors can be used to improve women’s health and communication with physicians. The implications of women’s health decision making are discussed in relation to how improving their health is just the beginning of improving the health of the United States.

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