How do you minimize the regrets

Remorse and Regret in medical decision-making

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"Regret" describes the feeling that you should have made a different decision. This feeling arises when a situation develops differently than expected or hoped for. When making decisions under uncertainty, "regret" is a frequent companion.

Often people imagine a possible “regret” at the moment of the decision. They try to minimize, repress or suppress remorse or regret. In this case we speak of “anticipated regret”.

We assume that remorse and regret, or rather avoiding them, are an important motive in medical decisions.

project goal

Exploring the importance of remorse and regret in diagnostic decisions in the GP practice.


1) Qualitative secondary evaluation of 83 partially structured interviews with general practitioners on their approach to frequent counseling occasions (headache, chest pain, abdominal pain, leg edema, skin findings). It is about already experienced regrets (unexpected negative developments in the past), reactions to them and the avoidance of future regrets ("anticipated regret").

2) In a factorial survey, general practitioners (> 300) express their regrets and regrets following incorrect diagnostic decisions (case vignettes). The severity of the originally assumed disease and the actual cause (further course) vary in patients with chest pain.

Status of the project

Both projects are currently being evaluated.

Project management

Prof. Dr. med. Norbert Donner-Banzhoff, MHSc

Project staff

Judith Voss, Svenja Baumann (PhD students)

Contact person in Marburg

Dr. Jörg Haasenritter, MSc (2); Prof. Dr. med. Norbert Donner-Banzhoff, MHSc