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NURSE PRACTITIONER JUDGMENTS ABOUT INTERACTION AND PARTICIPATORY DECISION-MAKING IN PRIMARY CARE SETTINGS.The purpose of the study was to test a theoretical model explaining nurse practitioner judgments about the amount of interaction and participatory decision-making between nurse practitioners and physicians. The specific aims of the study included: (1) to examine the influence of nurse practitioner perceptions of care complexity and expected benefit-cost ratio of physician involvement on interaction and participatory decision-making; (2) to test a theory that integrates two alternative explanations of amount of interaction and participatory decision-making derived from social exchange theory and technology theory; and (3) to investigate the effect of practice rules on the relationships in the theoretical model. The study used a mathematical correlational design with a causal modeling methodology for model testing. A convenience sample of 38 nurse practitioners participated. Major concepts in the model were measured using a four scale magnitude estimation instrument developed for the study. The instrument consisted of operational definitions for each of the concepts and a set of 18 clinical situations scaled according to care complexity. Psychometric properties of the instrument including stability, internal consistency, content and construct validity were estimated. Matching of responses across two modalities was used to validate the production of ratio level data. Multiple regression techniques were used for theoretical model testing. In the test of the theoretical model, both care complexity and expected benefit-cost ratio had a significant impact on the nurse practitioners' judgments about amount of interaction and participatory decision-making. Predictions derived from social exchange theory and technology theory were supported. The effect of practice rules on the relationships in the model could not be determined since the index of practice rules did not achieve an acceptable level of stability. Nurse practitioner judgments about interaction and participatory decision-making were influenced by perceptions of care complexity and expectations of the benefits and costs of interaction with a specific physician. An understanding of the factors that affect nurse practitioner judgments about interaction and participatory decision-making may be used to guide interventions that enhance the fit between these structures and outcomes of care.