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Comparison of Traffic Accident and Chronic Disease Risk Perceptions

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Objective: To assess whether having a commonly identified risk factor for certain chronic diseases or accidents predicted higher perceptions of risk for those health problems. Methods: Survey data from 618 adults in a southeastern metropolitan area were used. Health status and socio-demographic measures were identified as risk factors and examined as predictors of risk perceptions. Results: Older, less healthy adults saw themselves at greater risk for cancer and heart disease. Younger men did not see themselves at greater risk for traffic accidents. Selected risk factors for heart disease and cancer were more important in predicting risk perceptions for those diseases than selected risk factors for traffic-related injury. Conclusion: Individuals are less aware of their traffic-accident risk factors and more aware of their chronic-disease risk factors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA. 2: School of Health Administration and Policy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. 3: Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of South Carolina, School of Public Health, Columbia, SC. 4: Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA.

Publication date: May 1, 1999

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  • 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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