Skip to main content

Determinants of Priority for Risk Reduction: The Role of Worry

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


One hundred twenty-two members (experts) of the Society for Risk Analysis completed a mailed questionnaire and 150 nonexperts completed a similar questionnaire on the World Wide Web. Questions asked included those about priorities on personal and government action for risk reduction, badness of the risk, number of people affected, worry, and probabilities for self and others. Individual differences in mean desire for action were largely explained in terms of worry. Worry, in turn, was largely affected by probability judgments, which were lower for experts than for nonexperts. Differences across risks in the desire for action, within each subject, were also determined largely by worry and probability. Belief in expert knowledge about the risk increased worry and the priority for risk reduction. A second study involving 91 nonexperts (42 interviewed and 49 on the Web) replicated the main findings for nonexperts from the first study. Interviews also probed the determinants of worry, attitudes toward government versus personal control, and protective behaviors.

Keywords: Risk attitudes; emotion; expertise; worry

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Publication date: 2000-08-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more