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Risk and Efficacy as Motivators of Change: Test of the Risk Perception Attitude (RPA) Framework
Unformatted Document Text:  The RPA Framework 1 Risk and Efficacy as Motivators of Change: Test of the Risk Perception Attitude (RPA) Framework Attempts to establish a causal relation between risk perception and health behavior have often led to confusing and even contradictory results. Some studies (Dolinski, Gromski, & Zawisza, 1987; Larwood, 1978; Weinstein, 1982, 1983; Weinstein, Sandman, & Roberts, 1990) have found a positive correlation, others (Joseph et al., 1987; Robertson, 1977; Svenson, Fischhoff, & MacGregor, 1985) have not, and still others (Svenson et al., 1985; van der Velde, Hooijkaas, & Pligt, 1991; Weinstein, Grubb, & Vautier, 1986) have even found a negative correlation. Two primary limitations of past research, one methodological and the other conceptual, have been cited as reasons for the contradictory findings (Rimal, 2001). Methodologically, findings are based on correlational data in which risk perception was only measured, not manipulated. Hence, the temporal ordering of risk perception and behavior has not been established. Whereas some individuals (say, Type 1) engage in healthy behaviors because of their high levels of perceived risk (thus leading to a positive correlation), others (Type II) perceive their risks to be low because they already engage in disease prevention behaviors (negative correlation). To the extent that a study sample consists of both Type I and Type II individuals, the overall correlation between risk perception and behaviors is likely to be positive, if the sample comprises more Type I individuals, negative if more Type II, or nonexistent with equal number of Type I and Type II. Thus, in order to establish a causal relation between risk perception and behavior, risk perceptions have to be manipulated. The conceptual limitation of prior research is the failure to consider possible moderators in the risk perception-behavior link. Witte’s (1992, 1994) extended parallel process model and XXX’s (in press) [identity masked for blind review] risk perception attitude (RPA) framework

Authors: Rimal, Rajiv., Morrison, Dan. and Mitchell, Monique.
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The RPA Framework
1
Risk and Efficacy as Motivators of Change:
Test of the Risk Perception Attitude (RPA) Framework
Attempts to establish a causal relation between risk perception and health behavior have
often led to confusing and even contradictory results. Some studies (Dolinski, Gromski, &
Zawisza, 1987; Larwood, 1978; Weinstein, 1982, 1983; Weinstein, Sandman, & Roberts, 1990)
have found a positive correlation, others (Joseph et al., 1987; Robertson, 1977; Svenson,
Fischhoff, & MacGregor, 1985) have not, and still others (Svenson et al., 1985; van der Velde,
Hooijkaas, & Pligt, 1991; Weinstein, Grubb, & Vautier, 1986) have even found a negative
correlation. Two primary limitations of past research, one methodological and the other
conceptual, have been cited as reasons for the contradictory findings (Rimal, 2001).
Methodologically, findings are based on correlational data in which risk perception was
only measured, not manipulated. Hence, the temporal ordering of risk perception and behavior
has not been established. Whereas some individuals (say, Type 1) engage in healthy behaviors
because of their high levels of perceived risk (thus leading to a positive correlation), others (Type
II) perceive their risks to be low because they already engage in disease prevention behaviors
(negative correlation). To the extent that a study sample consists of both Type I and Type II
individuals, the overall correlation between risk perception and behaviors is likely to be positive,
if the sample comprises more Type I individuals, negative if more Type II, or nonexistent with
equal number of Type I and Type II. Thus, in order to establish a causal relation between risk
perception and behavior, risk perceptions have to be manipulated.
The conceptual limitation of prior research is the failure to consider possible moderators
in the risk perception-behavior link. Witte’s (1992, 1994) extended parallel process model and
XXX’s (in press) [identity masked for blind review] risk perception attitude (RPA) framework


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