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Education, risk perceptions, and health behaviors

You, Kai (2011): Education, risk perceptions, and health behaviors.

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Abstract

It is acknowledged that there exists an association between education and health behaviors, but channels through which educational gradients resulted are not well investigated. We propose that personal risk perceptions of developing cancers in the future account for part of the gradients. To explore it, we merge two datasets to test causal effects at both individual and MSA levels. Endogeneity is considered and eased. We find that risk perceptions significantly enhance people’s smoking decisions, and prostate cancer and colorectal cancer screening. Educational gradients are robust perceived risks. It is suggested to improve health behaviors, health service providers and public health manager should take measures to enhance personal perceived risk toward diseases.

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