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Health Psychol. 2007 Mar;26(2):136-45.

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

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1
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA. ntb1@unc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHOD:

A meta-analysis of eligible studies assessing the bivariate association between adult vaccination and perceived likelihood, susceptibility, or severity was conducted.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

PMID:
17385964
DOI:
10.1037/0278-6133.26.2.136
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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