Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 81–87 | Cite as

Truth Disclosure Practices of Physicians in Jordan

  • Saif M. Borgan
  • Justin Z. Amarin
  • Areej K. Othman
  • Haya H. Suradi
  • Yasmeen Z. Qwaider
Original Research


Disclosure of health information is a sensitive matter, particularly in the context of serious illness. In conservative societies—those which predominate in the developing world—direct truth disclosure undoubtedly presents an ethical conundrum to the modern physician. The aim of this study is to explore the truth disclosure practices of physicians in Jordan, a developing country. In this descriptive, cross-sectional study, 240 physicians were initially selected by stratified random sampling. The sample was drawn from four major hospitals in Amman, Jordan. A closed-ended questionnaire was distributed and completed by self-report. A total of 164 physicians completed the questionnaire. Thirty-seven physicians (23 per cent) usually withheld the diagnosis of “serious illness” from patients, while 127 physicians (77 per cent) usually divulged the information directly. Among the latter, 108 physicians (86 per cent) made exceptions to their disclosure policy. Specialists were more likely to withhold health information (p = 0.04998). Non-disclosure was primarily motivated by request from the patient’s family (seventy-one participants, 54 per cent). In twenty cases (15 per cent), non-disclosure was undertaken independently. In conclusion, most respondents opt to disclose the truth; however, the vast majority of these respondents make exceptions. Instances of non-disclosure are primarily motivated by sociocultural constructs.


Truth disclosure Personal autonomy Confidentiality Middle East; Jordan 



This work was funded by a grant from the Deanship of Academic Research at The University of Jordan. The authors wish to thank: Professor David L. Whitford (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Dr. Ghufran A. Jassim (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Bahrain) for their mentorship; and, Professor Ghassan N. Hamadeh (American University of Beirut) for sharing the questionnaire that was modified for use in this study.

Supplementary material

11673_2018_9837_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (134 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 134 kb)
11673_2018_9837_MOESM2_ESM.xls (68 kb)
Online Resource 2 (XLS 68 kb)


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saif M. Borgan
    • 1
  • Justin Z. Amarin
    • 2
  • Areej K. Othman
    • 3
  • Haya H. Suradi
    • 2
  • Yasmeen Z. Qwaider
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Central Florida College of MedicineOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineThe University of JordanAmmanJordan
  3. 3.Department of Maternal and Child Health Nursing, School of NursingThe University of JordanAmmanJordan

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