Can prospect theory explain risk-seeking behavior by terminally ill patients?
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Patients with life-threatening conditions sometimes appear to make risky treatment decisions as their condition declines, contradicting the risk-averse behavior predicted by expected utility theory. Prospect theory accommodates such decisions by describing how individuals evaluate outcomes relative to a reference point and how they exhibit risk-seeking behavior over losses relative to that point. The authors show that a patient's reference point for his or her health is a key factor in determining which treatment option the patient selects, and they examine under what circumstances the more risky option is selected. The authors argue that patients' reference points may take time to adjust following a change in diagnosis, with implications for predicting under what circumstances a patient may select experimental or conventional therapies or select no treatment.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1177/0272989X05282642
Publication InfoRasiel, Emma B; Weinfurt, Kevin P; & Schulman, Kevin A (2005). Can prospect theory explain risk-seeking behavior by terminally ill patients?. Med Decis Making, 25(6). pp. 609-613. 10.1177/0272989X05282642. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/2641.
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Professor of the Practice of Economics
Emma Rasiel is the Teaching Director of the Duke Financial Economics Center, as well as Associate Chair and Professor of Economics at Duke. Emma’s role includes developing and delivering curricular and extra-curricular programs to Duke undergraduates to improve their preparedness for careers in business and finance. Emma’s regularly taught courses include Practical Financial Markets, Intermediate Finance, and Equity Research. She also enjoys
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine
Kevin A. Schulman, MD, MBA, is a professor of medicine and the Gregory Mario and Jeremy Mario Professor of Business Administration (2010 - 2016) at Duke University. He is a visiting professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He holds several leadership appointments at Duke. He is an associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in the School of Medicine, the country's largest academic clinical research organization. In Duke's Fuqua School of Business, he s
This author no longer has a Scholars@Duke profile, so the information shown here reflects their Duke status at the time this item was deposited.
Professor in Population Health Sciences
Kevin P. Weinfurt, PhD, is Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He holds secondary appointment as a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and a Faculty Associate of the Trent Center for the Study of Medical Humanities and Bioethics. Dr. Weinfurt
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