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Reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks: Unrealistic optimism in the health domain

Reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks: Unrealistic optimism in the health domain
Reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks: Unrealistic optimism in the health domain
People's perceptions of benefits and risks play a key role in their acceptance or rejection of medical interventions, yet these perceptions may be poorly calibrated. This online study with N = 373 adults aged 19–76 years focused on unrealistic optimism in the health domain. Participants indicated how likely they were to experience benefits and risks associated with medical conditions and completed objective and subjective numeracy scales. Participants exhibited optimistic views about the likelihood of experiencing the benefits and the side effects of treatment options described in the scenarios. Objective and subjective numeracy were not associated with more accurate ratings. Moreover, participants’ underestimation of the risks was significantly greater than their overestimation of the benefits. From an applied perspective, these results suggest that clinicians may need to ensure that patients do not underestimate risks of medical interventions, and that they convey realistic expectations about the benefits that can be obtained with certain procedures.
0272-4332
792-804
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39
Rolison, Jonathan
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Freund, Alexandra M.
6eabfdc2-d06f-4f67-b232-c080d7ecf4dc
Hanoch, Yaniv
3cf08e80-8bda-4d3b-af1c-46c858aa9f39
Rolison, Jonathan
cf36bbd8-46bc-428f-943e-5c0e05c59c2a
Freund, Alexandra M.
6eabfdc2-d06f-4f67-b232-c080d7ecf4dc

Hanoch, Yaniv, Rolison, Jonathan and Freund, Alexandra M. (2019) Reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks: Unrealistic optimism in the health domain. Risk Analysis, 39 (4), 792-804.

Record type: Article

Abstract

People's perceptions of benefits and risks play a key role in their acceptance or rejection of medical interventions, yet these perceptions may be poorly calibrated. This online study with N = 373 adults aged 19–76 years focused on unrealistic optimism in the health domain. Participants indicated how likely they were to experience benefits and risks associated with medical conditions and completed objective and subjective numeracy scales. Participants exhibited optimistic views about the likelihood of experiencing the benefits and the side effects of treatment options described in the scenarios. Objective and subjective numeracy were not associated with more accurate ratings. Moreover, participants’ underestimation of the risks was significantly greater than their overestimation of the benefits. From an applied perspective, these results suggest that clinicians may need to ensure that patients do not underestimate risks of medical interventions, and that they convey realistic expectations about the benefits that can be obtained with certain procedures.

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Reapping the benefits and avoiding the risks - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 24 October 2020.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 October 2018
Published date: 1 April 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 434061
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/434061
ISSN: 0272-4332
PURE UUID: b24ed1e3-0dea-4c2e-b3d7-63ce79b46565

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 09 Dec 2019 17:32

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Contributors

Author: Yaniv Hanoch
Author: Jonathan Rolison
Author: Alexandra M. Freund

University divisions

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