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The relationship between cancer patients' desire for information and their preference for participation in decision making has been examined. Approximately 77% of the 52 patients reported that they had participated in decision making to the extent that they wished, while most of the remaining 23% would have preferred an opportunity to have greater input. Although many of the patients actively sought information, a majority preferred the physician to assume the role of the primary decision maker. Ethically, the disclosure of information has been assumed to be necessary for autonomous decision making. Nevertheless, the results of this study indicate that patients may actively seek information to satisfy an as yet unidentified aspect of psychological autonomy that does not necessarily include participation in decision making.