OBJECTIVES: To measure the preference regarding disclosure of a serious diagnosis, and its determinants, of the Lebanese public. DESIGN AND SETTING: Non-random sample survey of 400 persons interviewed in health care facilities in Beirut in 1995. RESULTS: Forty-two per cent of respondents generally preferred truth not to be disclosed directly to patients. Preference for disclosure was associated with younger age, better education and tendency to rapport-building with physicians. There were no meaningful associations between place of residence (urban/rural), level of religious practice, or religious affiliation, and preference for disclosure. CONCLUSIONS: Under one plausible interpretation, this survey suggests that the expectation for concealment will decrease as the advantage of knowledge in better coping with disease is understood by an increasingly better educated public, and that the Lebanese public will increasingly come to expect direct and full disclosure of serious diagnoses.
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