Perceived risk, health and consumer behaviour

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The main aim of the present paper is to analyse how health attitudes, environmental concern and behaviour are influenced by risk perception. A self-completion questionnaire survey was carried out among Norwegian residents in 1996 and 1997. Respondents belonging to five subsamples participated in the study and a total of 1124 replied to the questionnaire. Perceived risk was measured by asking the respondents to assess how 'safe' they felt from a health injury caused by specific sources of environmental and health risks. The questionnaire also contained indices of health attitudes, environmental concern, and behaviour, including health behaviour, environmental behaviour as well as consumer behaviour related to, i.e. purchasing 'green' products. The respondents felt most unsafe regarding chemical food additives, infected food, industrial pollution and risks related to traffic behaviour. Attitudes towards health promotion were strongly associated with health behaviour and environmental concern significantly affected environmental behaviour. There was also a strong correlation between the different types of behaviour. Attitudes and environmental concern explained 40% of the variance in environmental as well as consumer behaviour. Risk perception was found to be a rather weak predictor variable for behaviour.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1999

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