Beyond the Hazard: The Role of Beliefs in Health Risk Perception

Jennifer E. C. Lee, Louise Lemyre, Pierre Mercier, Louise Bouchard, Daniel Krewski
2005 Human and Ecological Risk Assessment  
This article addresses how beliefs about health risks cluster and how these relate to perceptions of risk among Canadians. A principal components analysis conducted on items reflecting various beliefs from the Canadian National Health Risk Perception Survey extracted four underlying dimensions: Cancer Dread, Trust in Regulators, Environmental Concern, and Personal Agency. Factor scores were then used to investigate relationships between belief factors and the perceived health risk of various
more » ... ards with gender, education, income, and province of residence as covariates. Environmental and Therapeutic health risk perceptions were significantly higher in respondents with high Cancer Dread and high Environmental Concern, but lower in respondents with high Trust in Regulators. Environmental health risk perceptions were lower in respondents with high Personal Agency, whereas Social health risk perceptions were higher in respondents with high Cancer Dread and Personal Agency. Results suggest that information about health risk-related beliefs can be useful in improving our understanding of the public's perceived risk of health hazards.
doi:10.1080/10807030500278636 fatcat:b6xvhakesfaehigl3jz35ihlgy