Deciding Between SF-6Dv2 Health States: A Think-Aloud Study of Decision-Making Strategies Used in Discrete Choice Experiments

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  • Lynne Broderick
  • Bjørner, Jakob
  • Miranda Lauher-Charest
  • Michelle K. White
  • Mark Kosinski
  • Brendan Mulhern
  • John Brazier

Objective: This study aimed to gain insight into decision-making strategies individuals used when evaluating pairs of SF-6Dv2 health states in discrete choice experiments (DCEs). Methods: This qualitative, cross-sectional, noninterventional study asked participants to use a think-aloud approach to compare SF-6Dv2 health states in DCEs. Thematic analysis focused on comprehension and cognitive strategies used to compare health states and make decisions. Results: Participants (N = 40) used 3 main strategies when completing DCEs: (1) trading, (2) reinterpretation, and (3) relying on previous experience. Trading was the most common strategy, used by everyone at least once, and involved prioritizing key attributes, such as preferring a health state with significant depression but no bodily pain. Reinterpretation was used by 17 participants and involved reconstructing health states by changing underlying assumptions (eg, rationalizing selecting a health state with significant pain because they could take pain medications). Finally, some (n = 13) relied on previous experience when making decisions on some choice tasks. Participants with experience dealing with pain, for instance, prioritized health states with the least impact in this dimension. Conclusions: Qualitatively evaluating the decision-making strategies used in DCEs allows researchers to evaluate whether the tasks and attributes are interpreted accurately. The findings from this study add to the understanding of the generation of SF-6Dv2 health utility weights and the validity of these weights (e.g., reinterpreting health states could undermine the validity of DCEs and utility weights), and the overall usefulness of the SF-6Dv2. The methodology described in this study can and should be carried forth in valuing other health utility measures, not just the SF-6Dv2.

Original languageEnglish
JournalValue in Health
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2034-2043
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

    Research areas

  • discrete choice experiment, health state utility, qualitative, SF-6Dv2, think-aloud

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