To examine whether the use of persuasive messages in which cancer patients’ attitudes and perceived social norms were either simultaneously or exclusively targeted can positively change patients’ attitudes, perceived social norms and the intention to express concerns in consultations.
Two online experiments were conducted. The first experiment had a pre-test and post-test measurements design with 4 conditions (attitudes message, social norms message, combined message, control message). The second experiment had a pre-test and post-test measurements design with 2 conditions (message and no message group).
The results of the first study showed small positive changes for patients who could potentially change, but there were no differences in effects between conditions. A second study was conducted to determine whether these effects could be attributed to exposure to the message or to the pre-test questionnaire. There were no differences between the conditions.
The results indicate that paying attention to the expression of concerns by patients might increase patients’ intention to express further concerns.
Providers might be able to support patients’ in their sharing of concerns through simple communication strategies such as explicitly mentioning that the expression of concerns is possible during a consultation.