Uniform TitleOptimistically biased colon cancer risks: motivational causes and consequences
NameDiBonaventura, Marco daCosta (author), Chapman, Gretchen (chair), Leventhal, Howard (internal member), Contrada, Richard (internal member), Miller, Suzanne (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School-New Brunswick,
Medicine and psychology
DescriptionColon cancer is the third leading type of cancer, accounting for 10% of cancer deaths for both men and women (ACS, 2005). Because colon cancer is caused by behavioral factors as well as environmental ones, this hazard represents an important opportunity for psychological investigation. This dissertation examined the influence of risk perceptions (and risk perception biases) on intentions for preventive behaviors. Specifically, this dissertation compared group-level and individual-level optimistic biases and also examined risk attribution biases and their effects on future intentions. A study of undergraduates at Rutgers University (N = 342) found that although participants believed their risk to be significantly below average (i.e. a group-level optimistic bias), participants actually overestimated their objective risk (i.e. an individual-level pessimistic bias). While risk perceptions were associated with intentions, the degree of optimistic bias was generally unrelated to intentions. Finally, participants generally underweighted the impact of many of the actual risk factors for colon cancer (e.g., alcohol, red meat, etc.) while overweighting many irrelevant factors (e.g., affect). The types of attributions participants made were also related to their future intentions. These results suggest that people engage in a variety of biases when formulating their risk judgments and that some of these biases may have implications for future behavioral intentions.
Note[bibliography] Includes bibliographical references (p. 70-74).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.