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Health Risk Perception, Optimistic Bias, and Personal Satisfaction

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Objectives : To examine change in risk perception and optimistic bias concerning behavior-linked health threats and environmental health threats between adolescence and young adulthood and how these factors related to personal satisfaction.

Methods : In 1996 and 2002, 1624 adolescents responded to a mailed questionnaire.

Results : Adolescents showed strong positive optimistic bias concerning behaviorlinked risks, and this optimistic bias increased with age. Increase in optimistic bias over time predicted increase in personal satisfaction.

Conclusions : The capacity to process and perceive potential threats in a positive manner might be a valuable human ability positively influencing personal satisfaction and well-being.

Keywords: adolescents; health-related behaviors; optimistic bias; personal satisfaction; risk perception

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-03-01

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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