National Survey of Medical Decisions, 2006-2007 (ICPSR 25983)

Principal Investigator(s): Couper, Mick P., University of Michigan; Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J., University of Michigan; Singer, Eleanor, University of Michigan; Fagerlin, Angela, University of Michigan; Ubel, Peter A., University of Michigan; Fowler Jr., Floyd J., Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making; Levin, Carrie, Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making


The National Survey of Medical Decisions (the DECISIONS study) was a random-digit dial telephone survey of 3,010 adults over the age of 40 in the United States conducted between November 2006 and May 2007. Participants were asked a series of screening questions to identify which of ten common medical decisions they may have discussed with their health care providers in the previous two years and then completed two to three question modules regarding specific decisions that were relevant to each individual.

Funded by a grant from the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (Boston, MA), the DECISIONS study is a unique data source which enables consideration of a wide variety of research questions related to when and how older adults manage the medical decisions they face. The initial screening module gathered highly generalizeable data regarding the prevalence of different types of common medical decisions in the experience of older Americans. The dynamically-administered modules then requested detailed information regarding how and when patients discuss key medical decisions with their health care providers, and whether variations in decision-making processes may have influenced patients' medical care.

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Study Description


Couper, Mick P., Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Eleanor Singer, Angela Fagerlin, Peter A. Ubel, Floyd J. Fowler Jr., and Carrie Levin. National Survey of Medical Decisions, 2006-2007. ICPSR25983-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-08-10.

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This study was funded by:

  • Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    decision making, doctor visits, medical care, medical evaluation

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2006-11--2007-05

Date of Collection:   

  • 2006-11--2007-05

Unit of Observation:    individual, medical decision

Universe:    National probability sample of English-speaking United States adults 40 years of age and older.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data collection was produced by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center of Ann Arbor, MI.


Sample:    List-assisted random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone survey.


The principal investigators constructed several weights to permit generalization to the full population of persons age 40 and older in the United States. First, selection weights reflected the differential sampling rates across strata, and the subselection of cases in Stratum 3. Next, a nonresponse weight was developed, based on the inverse of the response rate in cells defined by stratum, census region, and metropolitan status, using information available on the sampling frame. Finally, the data were post-stratified based on age-adjusted population estimates from the Current Population Survey, using gender, race, age, income, and education. The combined weights facilitate projection of the estimates of the prevalence of each of these medical decisions to the United States population age 40 and older.

In addition, the principal investigators created a module-level weight to compensate for the complex module selection algorithm described above. Inclusion of this weight permits generalization of module-level data to the population of adult patients age 40 and older who are considering each of the decisions examined. Each of these weights is described in the study documentation.

Mode of Data Collection:    computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Response Rates:    Weighted AAPOR RR4 = 51.6 percent.


Original ICPSR Release:   2009-08-10

Version History:

  • 2009-09-18 Added data and documentation.



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