Vitamin D: An examination of physician and patient management of health and uncertainty

Keisa Bennett, Brandi N. Frisby, Laura E. Young, Deborah Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Vitamin D has been a topic of much research interest and controversy, and evidence is mixed concerning its preventive effects and health benefits. The purpose of our study was to explore the decision-making strategies used by both primary care providers and community members surrounding vitamin D in relation to uncertainty management theory. We conducted semistructured interviews with primary care providers (n = 7) and focus groups with community members (n = 89), and transcribed and coded using the constant comparative method. Themes for providers included awareness, uncertainty, patient role, responsibility, skepticism, uncertainty management, and evolving perceptions. Community member focus group themes included uncertainty, information sources, awareness/knowledge, barriers, and patient-provider relationship. Both providers and community members expressed uncertainty about vitamin D but used conflicting strategies to manage uncertainty. Awareness of this disconnect might facilitate improved patient-provider communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-386
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA-NIFA2010-45058-20746; National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant number KL2TR000116.


  • communication, medical
  • constant comparison
  • decision making
  • focus groups
  • health care professionals
  • health care, primary
  • health information seeking
  • interviews, semistructured
  • nutrition / malnutrition
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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