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Optimistic bias in cancer risk perception: a cross-national study.

Authors
  • Fontaine, K R1
  • Smith, S
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, England.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychological reports
Publication Date
August 1995
Volume
77
Issue
1
Pages
143–146
Identifiers
PMID: 7501753
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Results are presented from a pilot study in which risk perceptions for developing cancer in samples of American and British adults were compared. 61 American and 43 British people estimated the likelihood of cancer happening to themselves and the average person. As a group, participants tended to judge their personal likelihood of developing cancer as less than the average, supporting the presence of an optimistic bias. However, compared to the Americans, British respondents tended to perceive both themselves and the average person to be less likely to develop cancer. There were no gender differences or interactions between the variables. Discussion centered on possible variations between the two countries with respect to perceptions of control and responsibility for one's health status which may account for the findings.

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