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Smokers' Perceived Self-Exemption From Health Risks
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by Lee J. Markowitz - Hamilton College
Categories: Health | Social
Ninety-seven nonsmokers and 22 smokers completed a 12-item questionnaire designed to assess perceived self-exemption from health risks. Perceived self-exemption was defined as having knowledge of risks, but not applying them to oneself. It was hypothesized that smokers would exhibit more perceived self-exemption than nonsmokers from smoking and nonsmoking health risks. The results supported this hypothesis. Post hoc analysis revealed that men exhibited greater perceived self-exemption than women did. Whereas previous research has examined smokers' perceived self-exemption from smoking health risks, the present study found that smokers' perceived self-exemption extends also to nonsmoking health risks. The role of cognitive dissonance in an injurious cycle involving smokers' beliefs and behaviors is discussed.
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