196383 Relationship Between Absolute and Relative Risk Perceptions and Cigarette Smoking Behaviors

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

Lei-Shih Chen, PhD, PT, CHES , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Steven C. Ames, PhD, ABPP , Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Kimberly Kaphingst, ScD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD
Although many studies have examined various relationships between risk perceptions and protective health behaviors, relatively few studies have tested the associations between perceived risk and cigarette smoking. Additionally, the findings of prior related studies have been inconsistent, due to differences in the hypothesized underlying relationship between risk perception and risk behavior. In this study, rather than testing a behavior motivation hypothesis (i.e. personal risk perceptions lead to protective behavior), we tested an accuracy hypothesis (i.e., risk perceptions accurately reflect risk behavior) to better understand how individuals interpret the relationship between their perceived lung cancer risk and cigarette smoking. Data from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, which had a nationally representative sample of 5,586 U.S. adults, were analyzed. Participants had low absolute and relative risk perceptions of developing lung cancer. Almost half (48.4%) had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their life. Absolute and relative risk perceptions were positively associated both with having smoked >100 cigarettes during their lifetime (OR=2.82; 95%CI:2.39-3.35 and OR=4.40; 95%CI:3.38-5.73, respectively) and the frequency of cigarette smoking (OR=3.94; 95%CI:2.74-5.66 and OR=3.65; 95%CI:2.47-5.40, respectively). Absolute risk perceptions were also positively related to number of cigarettes smoked per day ( =0.21; 95%CI:0.09-0.34). These results showed that individuals with a history of cigarette smoking perceived themselves as being at increased risk of developing lung cancer, supporting the accuracy hypothesis. The findings suggest that to increase the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs, health promotion strategies focused on factors other than perceived risk may be necessary.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the associations between absolute and relative risk perceptions and cigarette smoking behaviors Discuss how this accuracy hypothesis-based study can guide the development of more effective smoking cessation intervention approaches

Keywords: Smoking, Theory

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Chen obtained her doctoral in Health Education at Texas A&M University. She has published several peer-reviewed articles and over has given over 30 professional presentations at various conferences/meeting.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.