Resistance of personal risk perceptions to debiasing interventions.

  title={Resistance of personal risk perceptions to debiasing interventions.},
  author={Neil D. Weinstein and William M. P. Klein},
  journal={Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association},
  volume={14 2},
  • N. WeinsteinW. Klein
  • Published 1 March 1995
  • Psychology
  • Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
The tendency to believe that one's own risk is less than that of others may reduce interest in health-protective behaviors. This article describes 4 attempts to reduce such optimistic biases. In Study 1, New Jersey residents (N = 222) were provided with lists of risk factors for several health problems. This manipulation was strengthened in Study 2 by presenting risk factors in such a way that participants (164 undergraduates) might see their own standing as inferior to that of others. In Study… 


Unrealistic optimism about future events is due in part to the belief that one’s behavior is less risky than that of one’s peers. The current investigation explores strategies that people use to

Personal Fable: Optimistic Bias in Cigarette Smokers

It is hypothesized that smokers develop optimistic illusions, able to facilitate the adoption and the maintenance over time of the unhealthy lifestyles, such as cigarette smoking, and the former smokers could acquire a belief system centered on own responsibility.

On Being More Amenable to Threatening Risk Messages Concerning Close Others (vis-à-vis the Self)

Whether people are more amenable to risk messages impugning a close other’s behavior is explored, and participants learned how being overweight could influence their own cancer risk or that of an opposite-sex close other.

Pessimistic Bias in Comparative Evaluations: A Case of Perceived Vulnerability to the Effects of Negative Life Events

This study tested the hypothesis that unrealistic pessimism characterizes comparative estimates of coping ability. Participants rated their ability to adjust to a range of negative life events in

The impact of a 'looming vulnerability' manipulation on perceptions of risk, intentions and behaviour among harmful drinkers

Overview This thesis explores the effectiveness of attempts to increase risk perceptions among at-risk groups. Part one provides a meta-analytic review examining the efficacy of manipulations aimed

Resisting Good News: Reactions to Breast Cancer Risk Communication

Why comparison anchors might be important in risk feedback situations is discussed and recommendations for professionals who wish to provide accurate risk information and have patients adopt that information are recommended.

Correlates of unrealistic risk beliefs in a nationally representative sample

Factors associated with unrealistic optimism (UO) and unrealistic pessimism (UP) about breast cancer were characterized and population segments that are already vulnerable to negative health outcomes displayed more UP than less vulnerable populations.

Use of correlational data to examine the effects of risk perceptions on precautionary behavior

Abstract The idea that perceptions of high personal risk lead people to adopt precautionary behavior (the “motivational hypothesis”) is mainly tested with correlational data. A review of studies from

A Uniqueness to Personal Threat (UPT) Hypothesis: How Similarity Affects Perceptions of Susceptibility and Severity in Risk Assessment

Questions are asked how perceptions of relative severity/susceptibility differ as a function of perceived similarity between oneself and a referent and how this affects individuals' assessment of overall risk and personal identity.

Illusional Beliefs in the Context of Risky Sexual Behaviors1

The function and maintenance of illusions were explored. Three groups were selected by comparing perceived risk for contracting an STD or becoming pregnant with reported sexual behaviors: realistic



Effects of reviewing risk-relevant behavior on perceived vulnerability among women marines.

  • M. GerrardF. GibbonsT. Warner
  • Psychology
    Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
  • 1991
The results indicated that review of pregnancy-related behaviors decreased perceived vulnerability among two groups of subjects: those who considered unplanned pregnancy to be most undesirable and those who had the most confidence in the efficacy of their contraceptive behavior.

A Better World or a Shattered Vision? Changes in Life Perspectives Following Victimization

Previous research has separately documented positive (Taylor, 1983) and negative (Janoff-Bulman, 1989) changes in beliefs following victimization. An integration of these literatures is proposed,

Absolute and Relative Biases in Estimations of Personal Risk

Two studies examined the accuracy of personal risk estimates, as determined by comparing mean estimates made by college students with population statistics for college-educated individuals. Study 1

Egocentrism as a Source of Unrealistic Optimism

People tend to expect misfortunes to happen to others, not to themselves. College students (n = 76) who compared their own chances of experiencing 6 negative events with the chances of their

Maintaining Self-Serving Social Comparisons: Biased Reconstruction of One's Past Behaviors

People believe that they perform fewer health-threatening behaviors than their average peer Men such beliefs were challenged by information about the actual average behavior frequencies reported by

What Risks Are People Concerned About

An unusual questionnaire was used to explore what risks concern laypeople. It asked respondents to list, in their own words, as many risks of personal concern as they could. They then selected the

Perceptions of Vulnerability to Pregnancy and the Use of Effective Contraception

A study was conducted to determine (a) whether the lower pregnancy risk that sexually active college women attribute to themselves relative to "average"others results from underestimating their own

Increasing Women's Calcium Intake: The Role of Health Beliefs, Intentions, and Health Value1

Intentions to perform the recommended behaviors proved to be the best predictors of self-reported and actual behavior change, in support of the Ajzen-Fishbein (1980) model.

It Could Be Worse: Selective Evaluation as a Response to Victimization

A theory of victims' responses to their victimization, termed Selective Evaluation, is proposed. It is maintained that the perception that one is a victim and the belief that others perceive one as a

The myths of coping with loss.

It is maintained that mistaken assumptions held about the process of coping with loss fail to acknowledge the variability that exists in response to loss, and may lead others to respond to those who have endured loss in ways that are unhelpful.