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Risk perceptions and behaviours

Address a range of global health issues in our online course Geo-Health

Health-related knowledge, awareness, and health risk perceptions - how an individual perceives a health threat - are important determinants of health behaviours and components of behaviour change theories. What someone thinks or feels (e.g., perceived risk, worry, concerns, confidence, trust) along with social processes and the cultural context shaping these feelings will motivate or hinder their intention or hesitancy to implement a certain behaviour. Cultural contexts may determine health-related perceptions, behaviours, and as a consequence, health promotion and disease exposure. Convictions, health beliefs, social stigma, and (mis) conceptions about health and healthcare can be decisive factors for health-seeking behaviour, treatment and cure. Thus, a perceived potential risk to our health and well-being can influence our health-promoting and/or health-seeking behaviour, e.g., the adoption of protective health measures, the consultation with healthcare providers or our willingness to vaccinate against a certain disease. 

Perception, acceptance or rejection of certain diseases may determine the willingness to seek medical help or support from the communities, affecting rehabilitation. Thus, while the overall risk perception may be high and accurate, this does not necessarily allow for assumptions about the local ways to deal with ill-health and health-seeking.

We look at water- and health risk perceptions and behaviours, thereby linking two topics vital for sustainable development and high on political agendas at local, national, regional, and global levels.

Contact us

If you are interested in learning more about risk perceptions and behaviours, in collaborating on these themes, e.g. by teaming up in research, offering funding opportunities, sharing relevant data, as a key informant or interviewee, please contact us at c.anthonj@utwente.nl (subject: risk perceptions)

  • References

    Anthonj, C., Diekkrüger, B., Borgemeister, C., Kistemann, T., 2019. Health risk perceptions and local knowledge of water-related infectious disease exposure among Kenyan wetland communities. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 222 (1), 34-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.08.003. 

    Anthonj, C., Fleming, L., Godfrey, S., Ambelu, A., Bevan, J., Cronk, R., Bartram, J., 2018. Health Risk Perceptions Are Associated with Domestic Use of Basic Water and Sanitation Services—Evidence from rural Ethiopia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15 (10), 2112. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102112. 

    Anthonj, C., Setty, K., Ferrero, G., Al-Mounawara A. Yaya, Poague, K.I.H., Marsh, A.J., Augustijn, E.-W., 2022. Do health risk perceptions motivate water - and health-related behaviour? A systematic literature review. Science of the Total Environment 819, 152902. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152902 

    Cori, L., Bianchi, F., Cadum, E., Anthonj, C., 2020. Risk Perception and COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(9), 3114. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093114. 

    Anthonj, C., Giovannini, P., Kistemann, T., 2019.Coping with ill-health: Health care facility, chemist or medicinal plants? Health-seeking behaviour in a Kenyan wetland. BMC International Health and Human Rights 19, 18. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12914-019-0199-1.