Subjective Numeracy and the Influence of Order and Amount of Audible Information on Perceived Medication Value. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Order and amount of information influence patients' risk perceptions, but most studies have evaluated patients' reactions to written materials. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of 4 communication strategies, varying in their order and/or amount of information, on judgments related to an audible description of a new medication and among patients who varied in subjective numeracy. METHODS: We created 5 versions of a hypothetical scenario describing a new medication. The versions were composed to elucidate whether order and/or amount of the information describing benefits and adverse events influenced how subjects valued a new medication. After listening to a randomly assigned version, perceived medication value was measured by asking subjects to choose one of the following statements: the risks outweigh the benefits, the risks and benefits are equally balanced, or the benefits outweigh the risks. RESULTS: Of the 432 patients contacted, 389 participated in the study. Listening to a brief description of benefits followed by an extended description of adverse events resulted in a greater likelihood of perceiving that the medication's benefits outweighed the risks compared with 1) presenting the extended adverse events description before the benefits, 2) giving a greater amount of information related to benefits, and 3) sandwiching the adverse events between benefits. These associations were only observed among subjects with average or higher subjective numeracy. CONCLUSION: If confirmed in future studies, our results suggest that, for patients with average or better subjective numeracy, perceived medication value is highest when a brief presentation of benefits is followed by an extended description of adverse events.

published proceedings

  • Med Decis Making

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Fraenkel, L., Stolar, M., Swift, S., Street, R. L., Chowdhary, H., & Peters, E.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Fraenkel, Liana||Stolar, Marilyn||Swift, Sarah||Street, Richard L||Chowdhary, Harjinder||Peters, Ellen

publication date

  • April 2017