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Fear, not data, motivates sunscreen users, research shows
Date:7/1/2014

re of their interrelation as an influence on behavior has not been examined until this study."

UB researchers say that affective risk fear and worry about a health issue, in this case skin cancer and cognitive risk the informational component are both known influences on people's health behaviors.

However, they are often treated separately or are pitted against one another as "rational" versus "irrational" influences, says Kiviniemi.

"These findings show that clinicians might want to think more about feelings when encouraging people to use sunscreen," says Kiviniemi. "In addition to providing educational information about risk, encouraging people to consider how they feel about cancer and how worried they are about it might inspire preventive behaviors."

While ultimately public health professionals can use the results to design better intervention tools, researchers are still a few steps away from understanding how to shape fear so that it is beneficial, rather than paralyzing, adds Kiviniemi.

Kiviniemi will conduct further research to examine the same relationship between risk perception and behavior in other types of health behaviors, such as colonoscopy screening and condom use.


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Contact: Marcene Robinson
marcener@buffalo.edu
716-645-4595
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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