The distinct role of comparative risk perceptions in a breast cancer prevention program.


Journal Article

Comparative risk perceptions may rival other types of information in terms of effects on health behavior decisions.We examined associations between comparative risk perceptions, affect, and behavior while controlling for absolute risk perceptions and actual risk.Women at an increased risk of breast cancer participated in a program to learn about tamoxifen which can reduce the risk of breast cancer. They reported comparative risk perceptions of breast cancer and completed measures of anxiety, knowledge, and tamoxifen-related behavior intentions. Three months later, the women reported their behavior.Comparative risk perceptions were positively correlated with anxiety, knowledge, intentions, and behavior 3 months later. After controlling for participants' actual risk of breast cancer and absolute risk perceptions, comparative risk perceptions predicted anxiety and knowledge, but not intentions or behavior.Comparative risk perceptions can affect patient outcomes like anxiety and knowledge independently of absolute risk perceptions and actual risk information.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dillard, AJ; Ubel, PA; Smith, DM; Zikmund-Fisher, BJ; Nair, V; Derry, HA; Zhang, A; Pitsch, RK; Alford, SH; McClure, JB; Fagerlin, A

Published Date

  • October 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 262 - 268

PubMed ID

  • 21698518

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21698518

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-4796

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0883-6612

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s12160-011-9287-8


  • eng