Patient-related decisional regret: An evolutionary concept analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health-related decision-making is a complex process given the variability of treatment options, conflicting treatment plans, time constraints and variable outcomes. This complexity may result in patients experiencing decisional regret following decision-making. Nonetheless, literature on decisional regret in the healthcare context indicates inconsistent characterization and operationalization of this concept. Aim(s): To conceptually define the phenomenon of decisional regret and synthesize the state of science on patients' experiences with decisional regret. Design: A concept analysis. Methods: Rodgers' evolutionary method guided the conceptualization of this review. An interdisciplinary literature search was conducted from 2003 until 2023 using five databases, PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO and Web of Science. The search informed how the concept manifested across health-related literature. We used PRISMA-ScR checklist to guide the reporting of this review. Results: Based on the analysis of 25 included articles, a conceptual definition of decisional regret was proposed. Three defining attributes underscored the negative cognitive-emotional nature of this concept, post-decisional experience relating to the decision-making process, treatment option and/or treatment outcome and an immediate or delayed occurrence. Antecedents preceding decisional regret comprised initial psychological or emotional status, sociodemographic determinants, impaired decision-making process, role regret, conflicting treatment plans and adverse treatment outcomes. Consequences of this concept included positive and negative outcomes influencing quality of life, health expectations, patient-provider relationship and healthcare experience appraisal. A conceptual model was developed to summarize the concept's characteristics. Conclusion: The current knowledge on decisional regret is expected to evolve with further exploration of this concept, particularly for the temporal dimension of regret experience. This review identified research, clinical and policy gaps informing our nursing recommendations for the concept's evolution. No Patient or Public Contribution: This concept analysis examines existing literature and does not require patient-related data collection. The methodological approach does not necessitate collaboration with the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • adult patients
  • concept analysis
  • decision regret
  • decisional regret
  • patient phenomenon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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