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Health Psychol. 2000 Sep;19(5):496-500.

Conscientiousness, perceived risk, and risk-reduction behaviors: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.


Participants (N = 343) from an Oregon community completed surveys at baseline, 3 months, and 12 months to assess personality, the perceived health risk of radon in combination with smoking, and changes in smoking behavior. Conscientiousness predicted instituting a more restrictive household smoking rule (p < .01), and perceived risk predicted reduction in cigarettes smoked per day for men (p < .001). Perceived risk predicted a reduction in the proportion of cigarettes smoked in the home for those who had high (p < .05) but not low or moderate levels of Conscientiousness, a dimension in one personality model. The results demonstrate the importance of Conscientiousness in the prediction of health behavior, particularly behavior that affects others as well as oneself.

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