Optimistic bias in cancer risk perception: a cross-national study.

K. R. Fontaine, S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Results are presented from a pilot study in which risk perceptions for developing cancer in samples of American and British adults were compared. 61 American and 43 British people estimated the likelihood of cancer happening to themselves and the average person. As a group, participants tended to judge their personal likelihood of developing cancer as less than the average, supporting the presence of an optimistic bias. However, compared to the Americans, British respondents tended to perceive both themselves and the average person to be less likely to develop cancer. There were no gender differences or interactions between the variables. Discussion centered on possible variations between the two countries with respect to perceptions of control and responsibility for one's health status which may account for the findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-146
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimistic bias in cancer risk perception: a cross-national study.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this