Type of Document Dissertation Author Bae, Beom Jun Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-11152010-211632 Title Effects of Absolute and Comparative Risk Information on Self-Evaluation, Affective Responses, and Behavioral Intentions of Precautionary Actions Against Skin Cancer Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Communication, School of; Communication Science and Disorders, School of; and the Library and Inform Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Gary Heald Committee Chair Jay Rayburn Committee Member John Mayo Committee Member Stephen McDowell Committee Member Michael Hartline University Representative Keywords
- Health Communication
- Skin Cancer
Date of Defense 2010-10-25 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe fact that skin cancer is relatively prevalent, preventable and often curable represents a special opportunity for health communication and health campaign interventions.
A key feature of health communication aimed at preventing skin cancer and reducing avoidable deaths involves influencing individuals’ perceptions of their skin cancer risks. The current study explores the effects of absolute and comparative skin cancer risk information, and their interactions with perceived severity on individuals’ safety ratings, affective responses and behavioral intentions. The effects are examined across a range of different risk levels. A convenient sample of college students (N=563) was used in the experimental survey.
The non-linear logarithmic relationships between absolute risk and individuals’ safety ratings, affective responses (disturbance and worry), and behavioral intentions were confirmed by the data. Absolute risk information had detectable effects at low levels of risk, but the effects did not change appreciably at the highest absolute risk levels. Linear relationships also fit the data, but, R2s (the amount of explained by the absolute risk) and F values (statistical significance or likelihood of rejecting the null hypotheses) of the linear models for individuals’ safety ratings, feelings of worry, and preventive intentions were generally smaller than those of non-linear models.
Regarding comparative risk information, the data did not support the hypothesis that it influences individuals’ safety ratings, feelings of disturbance and worry, and preventive intentions. A possible explanation for different results from the previous research is that the present study used smaller risk ratio (1 to .6) than the Klein’s (1997) study (1 to .33).
In the tests of interactions among absolute risk, comparative risk, and perceived severity, no interaction effects hypothesized were supported by the data. One of the explanations is that the variance of perceived severity of skin cancer might not big enough to interact with absolute risk information (Weinstein, 2000). In the present study examining the specific health issue of skin cancer, the mean of perceived severity was 8.04 (s.d = 1.55) out of 10 and the median was 8.20. Even the low severity group had relatively high perceived severity on the scale.
In the present study, the non-linear effect of absolute risk information was confirmed while the linear effect of absolute risk information also fit the data. The overall patterns described with means of dependent variables showed that the effects of absolute risk information stay at the same level even though absolute risk increases at high risk levels. The study also found that comparative risk information was not a significant predictor of dependent variables. In designing risk messages for college students (young adults), comparative risk (being at above average risk) will not help alter individuals’ skin cancer-related feelings of safety, affective responses (disturbance and worry), and intentions of preventive behaviors. No interactions among absolute risk, comparative risk, and perceived severity were found. Thus, the effects of absolute and comparative risk information were not different between high and low perceived severity levels.
Future research may use a sample with wider age groups who are more responsive and relevant to skin cancer risk. The different sample might show the effects of comparative risk and interactions among absolute risk perception, comparative risk perception, and severity on individuals’ safety ratings, feelings of disturbance and worry, and preventive intentions.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access Bae_B_Dissertation_2010.pdf 1.17 Mb 00:05:25 00:02:47 00:02:26 00:01:13 00:00:06