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Decision Making

  • By: Christine Skubisz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Decision making, the process of selecting a course of action from alternative options, is ubiquitous to the field of health communication. In the health domain, decision making occurs at all levels: individual, family, group, and organizational. Decisions range from selecting medications, choosing health care providers, or deciding about treatment options to setting health care policies and creating laws. Individuals make seemingly minor but significant decisions on a daily basis that have the potential to affect health outcomes in profound ways.

There is an ongoing scholarly conversation regarding whether human beings are rational or irrational when it comes to their decision making. Dual processing theories of judgment and decision making address this divide. Theories of this ilk posit that individuals operate within two systems when making decisions, ...

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