Representativeness of personality and involvement preferences in a web-based survey on healthcare decision-making

Søren Birkeland, Thea Linkhorst, Anders Haakonsson, Michael John Barry, Sören Möller

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BACKGROUND: Obtaining a sample that is representative of the group of interest is of utmost importance in questionnaire studies. In a survey using a state authorized web-portal for citizen communication with authorities, we wanted to investigate the view of adult men on patient involvement in health care decision-making regarding Prostate-Specific Antigen test for prostatic cancer. In this paper, we report on sample characteristics and representativeness of our sample in terms of personality and baseline involvement preferences. METHODS: We compared personality profiles (BFI-10) and baseline healthcare decision-making preferences (CPS) in our sample (n = 6756) to internationally available datasets. Pooled data from a) US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (n = 1512), b) Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium (n = 1136), and c) Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark (n = 1313) were used for BFI-10 comparisons. Regarding CPS, we compared our sample with three previous datasets relating to decision-making in cancer (n = 425, 387, and 199). RESULTS: Although statistically significant differences particularly appeared in large dataset comparisons, sample BFI-10 and CPS profiles mostly were within the range of those previously reported. Similarity was greatest in BFI-10 comparisons with group a) where no statistically significant difference could be established in factors 'agreeableness' and 'neuroticism' (p = .095 and .578, respectively). CONCLUSION: Despite some variation, our sample displays personality and baseline preference profiles that are generally similar to those described in previous international studies. For example, this was the case with the BFI-10 'agreeableness' measure (incl. trust and fault-finding items), an important factor in healthcare decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number851
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 10. Sep 2020


  • Bioethics
  • Cancer
  • Decision making
  • Generalizability
  • Internet-based survey
  • Medical law
  • Personality
  • Representativeness
  • Research methodology


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