Understanding High-Stakes Consumer Decisions: Mammography Adherence Following False Alarm Test Results
Marketing Science, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2003
Posted: 1 Jan 2005
Consumers often have to decide whether to acquire information in high-stakes decision domains. We study women in mammography waiting rooms to test how a "false alarm" result (i.e., an indication that a malady is present when a "more accurate" follow-up test reveals it is not) affects willingness to get re-tested. In Study 1, we show that given a false alarm result, life-threatening test consequences are associated with more disutility for future testing than when test consequences are less significant; this does not hold for normal test results. In Study 2 in the mammography context, we show that patients receiving a false alarm result experienced more stress, were less likely to believe that a positive mammography result indicated cancer and more likely to delay mammography than patients receiving normal results unless they were also told that they may be vulnerable to breast cancer in the future. We show that delays in planned adherence following a false alarm result can be mitigated by an information intervention. Finally, we have preliminary evidence that a previous history of false positive results can cause a consumer to both react more negatively to emotional stress and respond more positively to coping information.
Keywords: Decision making under uncertainty, value of information, screening tests, mammography, patient decision making
JEL Classification: A13, C91, D81, I12, M30
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