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Perceived Onset Time of Medical Conditions: The Interplay Between Subjective Fear and Risk in Four Lifestyle Domains

  • Autori: Monzani D.; Pancani L.; Rusconi P.; Pravettoni G.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • Parole Chiave: affect heuristic; health behaviors; omission bias; Onset time delaying effect; risk perception
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Engaging in unhealthy behaviors (e.g., smoking, drinking) and not engaging in healthy ones (e.g., exercising, consuming fruit and vegetables) are both relatively prevalent among individuals despite the available information about their risks for health. People’s perception of an event’s time course can be used to gauge their risk perception for that event thus casting light on any possible misperception and suggesting directions for health-promoting interventions. This study investigates people’s perception of the time of onset of 5 noncommunicable diseases (e.g., “having high blood pressure”) associated with 4 health-related behaviors: Smoking, drinking, exercising, and eating fruit and vegetable. Participants from Italy (N = 214) and the UK (N = 151) gave onset time estimates of how long they thought it would take for 5 noncommunicable diseases to occur in the life of an 18-year-old person who starts or stops adopting those health-related behaviors. Results showed that participants who rated the noncommunicable diseases as more likely to themselves perceived the onset time of these diseases as more temporally proximal. Participants who were more afraid of developing the noncommunicable diseases estimated their onset time as delayed.