Understanding High-Stakes Consumer Decisions: Mammography Adherence Following False Alarm Test Results

Marketing Science, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2003

Posted: 1 Jan 2005

See all articles by Barbara E. Kahn

Barbara E. Kahn

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department; University of Miami

Mary Frances Luce

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Barbara E. and Luce, Mary Frances, Understanding High-Stakes Consumer Decisions: Mammography Adherence Following False Alarm Test Results. Marketing Science, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=482123

Barbara E. Kahn (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

University of Miami ( email )

United States

Mary Frances Luce

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

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