Treatment decision making in mature adults: Gender differences

Document Type



Studies have shown that women are less likely to receive several specific medical interventions, including organ transplantation, cardiac diagnostic studies, and coronary artery bypass surgery. This study investigates the hypothesis that this inequity may be explained by gender differences in treatment decisions made by older adults. A self-report questionnaire using hypothetical situations, treatment choices, and influencing factors was designed based on literature review and interviews with key informants. The questionnaire was administered to 250 nonpatient adults over the age of 50 in urban and rural settings in Ontario, Canada. Results revealed no significant gender differences in hypothetical treatment decisions made by patients nor in the factors affecting those decisions. In the absence of evidence that patient choice accounts for gender differences in utilization rates, physicians need to carefully examine their assumptions about patient preference and gender in the provision of specific interventions to male and female patients.


Decision making--Sex differences; Health behavior--Decision making; Medical care--Decision making; Patient refusal of treatment; Physician and patient


Community-Based Research | Counseling Psychology | Gender and Sexuality | Health Psychology | Medicine and Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or use interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the article. Publisher copyright policy allows author to archive post-print (author’s final manuscript). When post-print is available or publisher policy changes, the article will be deposited

Publisher Citation

Crawford, B. M., Meana, M., Stewart, D., & Cheung, A. M. (2000). Treatment decision making in mature adults: gender differences. Health Care for Women International, 21(2), 91-104.

UNLV article access

Search your library