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Comparative risk judgements for oral health hazards among Norwegian adults: a cross sectional study

Author(s): Åstrøm Anne

Journal: BMC Oral Health
ISSN 1472-6831

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2002;
Original page

Abstract Background This study identified optimistic biases in health and oral health hazards, and explored whether comparative risk judgements for oral health hazards vary systematically with socio-economic characteristics and self-reported risk experience. Methods A simple random sample of 1,190 residents born in 1972 was drawn from the population resident in three counties of Norway. A total of 735 adults (51% women) completed postal questionnaires at home. Results Mean ratings of comparative risk judgements differed significantly (p < 0.001) from the mid point of the scales. T-values ranged from -13.1 and -12.1 for the perceived risk of being divorced and loosing all teeth to -8.2 and -7.8 (p < 0.001) for having gum disease and toothdecay. Multivariate analyses using General Linear Models, GLM, revealed gender differences in comparative risk judgements for gum disease, whereas social position varied systematically with risk judgements for tooth decay, gum disease and air pollution. The odds ratios for being comparatively optimistic with respect to having gum disease were 2.9, 1.9, 1.8 and 1.5 if being satisfied with dentition, having a favourable view of health situation, and having high and low involvement with health enhancing and health detrimental behaviour, respectively. Conclusion Optimism in comparative judgements for health and oral health hazards was evident in young Norwegian adults. When judging their comparative susceptibility for oral health hazards, they consider personal health situation and risk behaviour experience.
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