Perception of health risks : How smoker status affects defensive optimism.
People generally underestimate their risk to come down with a life-threatening disease when comparing themselves to similar others.
However, to some extent they do take objective risk status or actual risk behavior into account.
The present study examined specific conditions of this phenomenon.
It was found that smoker status was associated with a somewhat higher perceived risk of getting lung cancer or smoker's cough or having a heart attack, but not of coming down with other diseases.
Still, smokers did not admit that they had an above-average risk for these maladies, thus reflecting defensive optimism.
In addition, smokers characterized the behavior of an abstract person, a « risk stereotype », by estimating the number of years of smoking, the daily number of cigarettes, and the cigarettes'nicotine content necessary to be at high risk for lung cancer.
There was evidence that smokers used these risk stereotypes as a reference point for evaluating their own relative risk.
Smokers also made higher risk estimates if their own behavior approached that of the risk stereotype.
On the whole, the results suggest that people use subjective risk factor theories when estimating their own personal health risks.
Mots-clés Pascal : Tabagisme, Prise risque, Stéréotype, Attitude, Jugement, Vulnérabilité, Evaluation subjective, Homme
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Tobacco smoking, Risk taking, Stereotype, Attitude, Judgment, Vulnerability, Subjective evaluation, Human
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 98-0320779
Code Inist : 002B18H02. Création : 27/11/1998.