Health Risk Tolerance as a Key Determinant of (Un)willingness to Behavior Change: Conceptualization and Scale Development

The International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference, March 11-13, 2019, Orlando, FL.

The International Crisis and Risk Communication Conference, March 11-13, 2019, Orlando, FL.

Abstract: As Heath and O’Hair (2009) defined, crisis is when risk is manifested. The urgency and uncertainty of crisis can induce more complexity to organizations (Seeger, Sellnow, & Ulmer, 1998). Public health crisis and risk communications are tasked to communicate about risks that can harm public health and persuade the public to adopt healthier and less risky behavior (Freimuth, Linnan, & Potter, 2000). Although risk perception itself has been extensively studied, it remains unclear how individuals choose not to modify unhealthy behaviors despite their awareness of the benefits of changing such behaviors. To further unearth the psychological process of refusal to change, our study introduces and explicates the concept of risk tolerance as a key determinant of individuals’ (un)willingness to modify unhealthy behaviors. Risk tolerance, a concept originally developed in management and financial planning, is defined in our study as how much individuals tolerate not to follow the recommended healthy behavior. To refine the conceptualization and develop a scale measuring health risk tolerance, a multi-phase, multi-method research design is employed.

Yan Jin  Hyoyeun Jun 

Related Research


The Conceptualization of Risk Tolerance and Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Tolerance of Individual Health Risks

Hyoyeun Jun (Grady PhD Alum) and Yan Jin (Forthcoming). “The Conceptualization of Risk Tolerance and Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Tolerance of Individual Health Risks.” Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research. Abstract: Risk tolerance, identified by scholars over two decades ago as an essential concept in risk communication, has remained understudied without clear […]

Yan Jin
read more