Can prospect theory explain risk-seeking behavior by terminally ill patients?

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2005-11

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Abstract

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.

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10.1177/0272989X05282642

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Rasiel, Emma B, Kevin P Weinfurt and Kevin A Schulman (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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Scholars@Duke

Rasiel

Emma Rasiel

Richard Y. Li Professor of the Practice

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 teaching Behavioral Finance each summer on her Duke in London study away program and invites anyone to check out her online Behavioral Finance course, offered on the Coursera MOOC teaching platform.

The extra-curricular programs for Duke undergraduates that Emma spearheads include bank-sponsored case study competitions; an alumni-student mentoring program for 80 students each year; and Spring Mock Interview Days, during which more than 100 students have mock interviews with 40+ alumni, in preparation for investment bank recruiting season. Emma is also collaborating with Pratt for their Master's in FinTech which launched in Fall 2020.  She was appointed Associate Chair of the Economics department in 2016.

Emma holds bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Oxford University (1986) and an MBA from the Wharton School (class of 1990). She joined Goldman Sachs in 1990 and spent two years in their New York office, subsequently moving to London to spend five years trading European bond options. She was promoted to Executive Director in 1994 and left Goldman in 1997 to pursue further academic studies at Duke. She completed her PhD in finance at the Fuqua School in 2003, moved across campus to the Economics Department, and feels very fortunate that she has been able to remain at Duke ever since.

Emma enjoys horseback riding in the cooler months of the year, water skiing in the warmer ones, and poker all year round.

Weinfurt

Kevin Phillip Weinfurt

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of 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 Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine. Dr. Weinfurt also co-directs the Center for Health Measurement at Duke and is co-director of the Clinical Research Training Program (Masters degree offered through the School of Medicine). Dr. Weinfurt worked as a Special Governmental Employee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for four years, helping to create the Patient-Focused Drug Development guidance series. He is also a member of the Secretary's Advisory Committee for Human Research Protections. 


Dr. Weinfurt conducts research on measuring patient-reported outcomes, medical decision making, and bioethics. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Weinfurt has taught undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, judgment and decision making, and the psychology of medical decision making; and graduate courses in multivariate statistics, patient-reported outcomes, and research ethics.


Areas of Expertise: Bioethics, Health Measurement, Health Services Research, and Health Behavior

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