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To what extent psychiatric patients feel involved in decision making about their mental health care? Relationships with socio-demographic, clinical, and psychological variables

  • Carlos De las Cuevas (a1) and Wenceslao Peñate (a2)



Shared decision making (SDM) is an essential component of patient-centered care, but there is little information about its use in the psychiatric care.


To measure to what extent psychiatric patients feel they were involved in the process and steps of decision making about treatment choice and to analyse the influence of socio-demographic, clinical, and psychological processes on this perception.


Cross-sectional survey involving 1100 consecutive psychiatric outpatients invited to complete the nine-item Shared Decision-Making Questionnaire (SDM-Q-9), health locus of control and control preferences, self-efficacy and drug attitude scales, as well as a questionnaire including socio-demographic and clinical variables.


A high response rate of 77% was registered, resulting in a sample of 846 psychiatric outpatients. SDM-Q-9 total score indicate a moderately low degree of perceived participation, with differing perceived implementation of the individual the SDM process steps. Patient diagnosis evidenced significant differences in SDM perception. Patients’ perception of SDM was explained by four main variables: the older the patient, the lower self-reported SDM; having a diagnosis of schizophrenia increases the likelihood of lower SDM; a positive attitude towards psychiatric drugs favors greater SDM, as well as a higher level of self-efficacy.


The result of this study suggests that SDM is currently not widely practiced in psychiatric care. Further research is needed to examine if the low level of participation self-reported is justified by psychiatric patients’ decisional capacity.


Corresponding author

Prof. Carlos De las Cuevas, Department of Internal Medicine, Dermatology and Psychiatry, School of Medicine, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Spain. Tel: 0034 609 521 405; Fax: 0034 922 319 353; E-mail:


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