Article Text

Download PDFPDF
How do parents of babies interpret qualitative expressions of probability?
  1. N J Shaw,
  2. P R Dear
  1. Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, St James's University Hospital, Leeds.


    One hundred mothers and 50 medical students and doctors were interviewed to examine their understanding of eight common probability expressions as they are used in statements of the kind that doctors regularly make to mothers of babies. Respondents were asked to translate each term into a number on a scale from 0 to 10. There was a wide range of interpretation of the expressions, and significant differences were found between the mothers and medical group for seven of the expressions. Most mothers expressed a preference for receiving information in numerical terms. We advise that verbal probability expressions should be restricted, and more information presented in numerical terms.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Linked Articles