The IKEA Effect

Every year, I like to make birthday cards for family members on their birthdays. However, when I buy birthday cards, no matter how good they look and how expensive they are, I find myself valuing them less compared to my home-made ones.

If you create it, you are going to value it more compared to those created by someone else-“the IKEA effect”.

It is interesting to see that since Ikea furniture requires a great deal of assembly, the furniture might be valued more compared to those that are ready assembled. For example, I spent 2-3 hours assembling a computer desk all by myself and I find it better than a similar study desk that was assembled by my parents! In fact, I enjoy studying more at the computer desk!

Similar principles may be applied when delivering effective patient-centered care. Would involvement of patients  and/or their families during decision-making process of treatment plans improve patients’ treatment adherence? For example, a physician may devise a plan to help his/her diabetic patient to effectively control blood sugar levels. As part of the plan, the physician may recommend the patient to follow a regular exercise regime and special diet. However, having the patient participate in the process of exploring treatment options may be more advantageous than just telling the patient of treatment options.

There are several advantages of including patients during the decision-making process of devising proper treatment plans. First, based on the Ikea effect principle, patients are more likely to accept and adhere to treatments if they are included in the planning process of their treatment interventions. Second, having ongoing open communication with patients when exploring treatment options would allow physicians to understand their patients’ perspectives including both their social and cultural backgrounds, which would allow provision of effective patient-centered care.

If you create it, you are more likely to value it. If patients are given a chance to play an active role in creating their treatment plans, they are more likely to value it.

“The IKEA effect” reference: Unfolding the IKEA Effect: Why We Love the Things We Build. (2011, September 22). Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “The IKEA Effect

  1. You might want to also look into a concept called “participative goal setting.” It’s usually used in management, but I think it would apply here too – people set and adhere to more difficult goals when they participate in the creation of those goals vs those goals simply being assigned to them.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s