Toward a new conceptualization and operationalization of risk perception within the genetic counseling domain

J Genet Couns. 1993 Dec;2(4):275-94. doi: 10.1007/BF00961576.


The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it provides an historical overview of studies of risk, risk perception, and decision making under risk within the genetic counseling domain. Second, it proposes an alternative conceptualization and operationalization for the study of risk perception. The conceptualization involves probability, adversity, incompleteness, and ambiguity. Prior studies of risk perception focus on the recurrence risk and operationalize risk perception by asking for interpretations of the magnitude of the probability of the outcome. Their focus is on the probability of a particular outcome. We formulate the problem in terms of a gamble and suggest that risk perception be operationalized in terms of the riskiness of the gamble. Our focus is on the riskiness of a decision option which entails two or more outcomes.