Understanding the dynamics of decision-making and choice: a scoping study of key psychological theories to inform the design and analysis of the panel study

Document type
Literature review
Beresford, Bryony; Sloper, Tricia
Date of publication
1 January 2008
Social Work, Social Care and Social Services, Disabled people, Older Adults
Social welfare
Material type

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At the heart of this programme of research is a qualitative longitudinal Panel Study that aims to examine the choices that older people, disabled young people, disabled adults and their carers make about their services and support; how these choices change over time; and the implications for their experience of independence. To inform the Panel Study and drawing mainly on psychological research, we conducted a review of the main theoretical models of decision-making and choice. Unlike systematic reviews, the review did not set out to identify and evaluate the existing evidence base. Instead the review identifies the main areas of psychological theory and research relevant to choices about welfare services; and assesses the implications of these for the design and analysis of the Panel Study. The review covers the main theories of judgement, decision-making and choice; the factors such as emotion, which affect choice and decision-making; and evidence on specific decision-making situations, including joint decision-making with another person, making choices on behalf of someone else and decision-making within close relationships.

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