Objective: To test how attribute framing in a discrete choice experiment (DCE) affects respondents' decision-making behavior and their preferences. Methods: Two versions of a DCE questionnaire containing nine choice tasks were distributed among a representative sample of the Dutch population aged 55 to 65 years. The DCE consisted of four attributes related to the decision regarding participation in genetic screening for colorectal cancer (CRC). The risk attribute included was framed positively as the probability of surviving CRC and negatively as the probability of dying from CRC. Panel mixed-logit models were used to estimate the relative importance of the attributes. The data of the positively and negatively framed DCE were compared on the basis of direct attribute ranking, dominant decision-making behavior, preferences, and importance scores. Results: The majority (56%) of the respondents ranked survival as the most important attribute in the positively framed DCE, whereas only a minority (8%) of the respondents ranked mortality as the most important attribute in the negatively framed DCE. Respondents made dominant choices based on survival significantly more often than based on mortality. The framing of the risk attribute significantly influenced all attribute-level estimates and resulted in different preference structures among respondents in the positively and negatively framed data set. Conclusions: Risk framing affects how respondents value the presented risk. Positive risk framing led to increased dominant decision-making behavior, whereas negative risk framing led to risk seeking behavior. Attribute framing should have a prominent part in the expert and focus group interviews, and different types of framing should be used in the pilot version of DCEs as well as in actual DCEs to estimate the magnitude of the effect of choosing different types of framing.
- discrete choice experiment
- stated preferences