Racial Differences in Adolescents' Perceived Vulnerability to Disease and Injury

Sydney Ey, Lisa M. Klesges, Stephen M. Patterson, Wendy Hadley, Marie Barnard, Bruce S. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study examined gender and racial differences in adolescents' risk perceptions of major diseases and motor vehicle injury and whether these perceptions agree with national mortality rates and parental health history. Adolescent (N = 135; 55% African-American) boys and girls reported on their chances compared to other adolescents of developing specific diseases or experiencing a motor vehicle injury and their knowledge ofparental health history. Logistic regression models revealed that girls' risk perceptions were similar to boys' ratings even though females are at less risk than males per national figures. Caucasian adolescents inaccurately perceived that they were at significantly greater risk than African-American peers for motor vehicle injury, stroke, cancer, and heart attack. Adolescents' knowledge of a father's diabetes was predictive of greater perceived vulnerability to diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-435
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Perceived vulnerability
  • Risk perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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