Communication Studies, Department of



Janice L. Krieger

Nancy D. Rhodes

Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Health Communication, 22: 10–19, 2017.

doi 10.1080/10810730.2016.1245804


Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Cancer patients rely on multiple sources of support when making treatment decisions; however, most research studies examine the influence of health care provider support while the influence of family member support is understudied. The current study fills this gap by examining the influence of health care providers and partners on decision-making satisfaction. In a cross-sectional study via an online Qualtrics panel, we surveyed cancer patients who reported that they had a spouse or romantic partner when making cancer treatment decisions (n = 479). Decisional support was measured using 5-point, single-item scales for emotional support, informational support, informational-advice support, and appraisal support. Decision-making satisfaction was measured using Holmes-Rovner and colleagues’ (1996) Satisfaction With Decision Scale. We conducted a mediated regression analysis to examine treatment decision-making satisfaction for all participants and a moderated mediation analysis to examine treatment satisfaction among those patients offered a clinical trial. Results indicated that partner support significantly and partially mediated the relationship between health care provider support and patients’ decision-making satisfaction but that results did not vary by enrollment in a clinical trial. This study shows how and why decisional support from partners affects communication between health care providers and cancer patients.