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Factors influencing risk perception accuracy within the context of health information

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posted on 2024-04-22, 02:07 authored by Lillijana MurphyLillijana Murphy

Current literature suggests that probabilistic genetic risk information is difficult for the public to understand, resulting in inaccurate perceptions of genetic risk information. This is problematic, given evidence of subsequent influences on health attitudes and behaviours. The present study explored the impact of factors related to the risk presentation, such as risk context and susceptibility, on risk estimate accuracy. Our primary hypotheses were: 1. risk estimate overestimation will be greatest at low risk; 2a. risk estimate overestimation will be greater for genetic contexts; 2b. individual’s estimate standard deviations will be smaller in the genetic condition; 3. there will be an interaction between risk context and susceptibility. A total of 212 participants (female n = 152, male n = 40, non-binary n = 3, Mage = 30.7 years) completed an online survey where they gave risk estimate responses to vignettes describing fictional diseases. A 2x6 mixed ANOVA revealed a significant difference in magnitude and direction of accuracy between risk levels, supporting hypothesis 1 predictions, with a trend of overestimating low risks and underestimating high risks. Hypotheses 2a, 2b and 3 were not supported, with no evidence of response differences between genetic/lifestyle conditions and thus no evidence of a genetic determinism bias. These results suggest that regardless of heath test type, all healthcare professionals and companies should exercise caution when communicating health risk information, with specific considerations of the demonstrated overestimation/underestimation trend and worse accuracy of low numeracy groups.

History

Sub-type

  • Undergraduate Dissertation

Pagination

iii, 57 pages

Department/School

School of Psychological Sciences

Publisher

University of Tasmania

Event title

Graduation

Date of Event (Start Date)

2023-12-15

Rights statement

Copyright 2023 the author

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