Meta-analysis of the relationship between risk perception and health behavior: The example of vaccination

Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.95). 04/2007; 26(2):136-45. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.26.2.136
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Risk perceptions are central to many health behavior theories. However, the relationship between risk perceptions and behavior, muddied by instances of inappropriate assessment and analysis, often looks weak.
A meta-analysis of eligible studies assessing the bivariate association between adult vaccination and perceived likelihood, susceptibility, or severity was conducted.
Thirty-four studies met inclusion criteria (N = 15,988). Risk likelihood (pooled r = .26), susceptibility (pooled r = .24), and severity (pooled r = .16) significantly predicted vaccination behavior. The risk perception-behavior relationship was larger for studies that were prospective, had higher quality risk measures, or had unskewed risk or behavior measures.
The consistent relationships between risk perceptions and behavior, larger than suggested by prior meta-analyses, suggest that risk perceptions are rightly placed as core concepts in theories of health behavior.

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Available from: Kevin D Mccaul, Jul 28, 2015
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    • "Other concepts include the affective reaction to an outcome, the perceived source of a risk, the susceptibility to a risk, and degree of belief. Further, the voluntariness of risk, the knowledge about, and control over risk can also play a role in risk judgments (Brewer et al., 2007; Eiser, 1994; Gardoni & Murphy, 2013; Loewenstein , Weber, Hsee, & Welch, 2001; Slovic, Finucane, Peters , & MacGregor, 2004; Slovic, Fischhoff, & Lichtenstein , 1979; see Brun, 1994 for a comprehensive discussion of this topic). Thus, it seems prudent to distinguish between subjective probability and perceived risk. "
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    • "There are several variations of conceptualizing risk perceptions (Brewer et al., 2007). "
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    • "The degree to which the public believes that NCTPs are less harmful than regular cigarettes could affect the prevalence of their use. Expectancy value theories like the Health Belief Model (Rosenstock, 1974), as well as past studies examining a variety of behaviors such as vaccination (Brewer et al., 2007) and cancer screening (Moser et al., 2007), suggest that perceived risk can motivate health behavior. Research shows that these beliefs can affect smoking behavior, although not consistently. "
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