Sources of uncertainty and their association with medical decision making: Exploring mechanisms in fanconi anemia

Jada G. Hamilton, Sadie P. Hutson, Richard P. Moser, Sarah C. Kobrin, Amy E. Frohnmayer, Blanche P. Alter, Paul K J Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Effects of different sources of medical uncertainty on people's health-related cognitions, emotions, and decision making have yet to be systematically examined. Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine how uncertainties arising from different sources are associated with decision making regarding stem cell transplantation in Fanconi anemia, a rare, inherited bone marrow failure syndrome that typically presents during childhood. Methods: Data were collected through a cross-sectional survey of 178 parents of 126 Fanconi anemia patients. Results: Two distinct sources of uncertainty were associated with decision outcomes: probability was associated with a lower likelihood of choosing stem cell transplantation, and ambiguity due to conflicting expert opinions was associated with greater decision-making difficulty. Concern about transplantation may mediate these associations. Conclusions: Different sources of uncertainty have different effects on Fanconi anemia treatment decisions, which may be mediated by parents' emotional reactions. Further research is needed to elucidate these effects and help Fanconi anemia families cope with uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-216
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambiguity
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Medical decision making
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • General Medicine


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