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Paternalistic Decision Making

Decision Making

A variety of models for making decisions are available. Three of these models are paternalistic, informative, and shared decision making.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of each of these models and the problems that are best suited for the various methods.
  • Determine which method has the strongest possibility of resulting in permanent change.

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 600 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 3 academic sources.
  • You should respond (150 words each) to two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts.

Paternalistic Decision Making

Paternalistic Decision Making:


  • Efficiency: This model can be efficient, especially in urgent or critical situations where immediate action is required, as the decision-making process is streamlined.
  • Expertise Utilization: It allows experts or authorities to make decisions based on their knowledge and experience, potentially leading to better outcomes in complex situations.
  • Reduced Burden: Individuals who may not have the capacity or expertise to make certain decisions are relieved of the burden of decision-making.


  • Lack of Autonomy: One significant drawback is the erosion of individual autonomy. People may feel disempowered or marginalized when decisions are made on their behalf without their input.
  • Risk of Misjudgment: There’s a risk that the paternalistic decision-maker may not fully understand the individual’s preferences or unique circumstances, leading to decisions that are not aligned with the individual’s best interests.
  • Resentment and Distrust: Individuals may resent or distrust the decision-maker if they feel their autonomy has been violated, which can undermine the effectiveness of the decision in the long term.

Informative Decision Making:


  • Empowerment: This model empowers individuals by providing them with relevant information, allowing them to make informed decisions that align with their preferences and values.
  • Ownership: Individuals are more likely to take ownership of decisions when they are actively involved in the decision-making process, leading to greater commitment and follow-through.
  • Enhanced Understanding: It fosters a deeper understanding of the situation and its implications, enabling individuals to weigh the pros and cons more effectively.


  • Time-Consuming: Informative decision-making can be time-consuming, particularly when dealing with complex issues or when individuals require extensive information to make a decision.
  • Potential for Information Overload: There’s a risk of overwhelming individuals with too much information, leading to decision paralysis or confusion.
  • Limited Access to Information: Not all individuals have equal access to relevant information, which can create disparities in decision-making outcomes.

Shared Decision Making:


  • Collaboration: Shared decision-making promotes collaboration and partnership between individuals and healthcare professionals, leading to decisions that are more patient-centered and holistic.
  • Enhanced Satisfaction: Individuals tend to be more satisfied with decisions when they actively participate in the decision-making process, even if the outcome is not ideal.
  • Improved Adherence: When individuals are involved in decision-making, they are more likely to adhere to treatment plans or follow through with recommended actions.


  • Resource Intensive: Shared decision-making requires time, resources, and effort from both individuals and healthcare professionals, which may not always be feasible, particularly in busy or resource-constrained settings.
  • Conflict: There’s potential for disagreement or conflict between individuals and healthcare professionals, especially if there are differing opinions or preferences.
  • Unequal Power Dynamics: Power dynamics within the decision-making process may favor healthcare professionals, leading to unequal participation or influence.

Suitability and Possibility of Permanent Change:

The suitability of each decision-making model depends on the context and the preferences of the individuals involved. For instance, paternalistic decision-making may be more appropriate in emergency situations where immediate action is necessary, while shared decision-making may be preferable for long-term treatment plans involving chronic conditions.

In terms of the possibility of resulting in permanent change, shared decision-making arguably holds the strongest potential. This is because it empowers individuals to take an active role in decision-making, leading to greater ownership and commitment to the chosen course of action. When individuals are actively involved in decisions that affect their health and well-being, they are more likely to adopt and sustain behavior changes over the long term. Additionally, the collaborative nature of shared decision-making fosters trust and partnership between individuals and healthcare professionals, further enhancing the likelihood of permanent change.

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