College students' perceived disease risk versus actual prevalence rates. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To compare college students' perceived disease risk with disease prevalence rates. METHODS: Data were analyzed from 625 college students collected with an Internet-based survey. Paired t-tests were used to separately compare participants' perceived 10-year and lifetime disease risk for 4 diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and overweight/obesity. RESULTS: Respondents estimated their risk of developing heart disease as lower than cancer, yet rated their risk of developing heart disease as higher than diabetes and being overweight/obese. CONCLUSION: Incongruence between college students' perceived disease risk and disease prevalence rates calls for improved public health education.

published proceedings

  • Am J Health Behav

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, M. L., Dickerson, J. B., Sosa, E. T., J McKyer, E. L., & Ory, M. G.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Smith, Matthew Lee||Dickerson, Justin B||Sosa, Erica T||J McKyer, E Lisako||Ory, Marcia G

publication date

  • January 2012