Misimagining the unimaginable: the disability paradox and health care decision making.


Journal Article

Good decision making often requires accurate predictions about how potential outcomes will make one feel. However, people often mispredict the emotional impact of unfamiliar circumstances. For example, they often overestimate the emotional impact that chronic illnesses and disability will have on their lives. In the present article, the authors look at possible sources of error in both the happiness reports of patients with chronic illness or disability and the happiness predictions of healthy people asked to imagine the same illnesses and disabilities. On balance, the available evidence suggests that, whereas patients misreport their well-being, healthy people also mispredict the emotional impact that chronic illness and disability will have on their lives.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ubel, PA; Loewenstein, G; Schwarz, N; Smith, D

Published Date

  • July 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 4S

Start / End Page

  • S57 - S62

PubMed ID

  • 16045420

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16045420

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1930-7810

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-6133

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0278-6133.24.4.s57


  • eng