Smoking, seat-belt use and perception of health risks

Addict Behav. 1983;8(1):75-8. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(83)90060-6.


As part of a study of perception of risks involved in health-related activities, 159 students (aged 16-21 years) rated 15 such activities in terms of perceived benefit, perceived risk, perceived likelihood of mishap and acceptability of present level of risk. After exclusion of 28 ex-smokers, subjects were classified into smokers vs. non-smokers, users vs. non-users of seat-belts, males vs. females and first-borns vs. later borns. There were various sex differences but few effects of birth order. Smokers tended to see a less unfavourable trade-off in terms of benefits as against risks for cigarette smoking than did non-smokers. This generalized to their ratings of pot smoking and alcoholic drinks. Non-users of seat-belts were distinguishable from users mainly in seeing greater risk and likelihood of mishap in preventive health measures such as vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Probability
  • Risk
  • Seat Belts*
  • Smoking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires