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Risk-Taking Behavior

At the heart of most health and risk communication research and practice is a desire to change behavior. Risk-taking behaviors should be distinguished from other behaviors of interest to health and risk practitioners and scholars. Unlike health-promoting behaviors—the behaviors that actually promote and sustain one's health (e.g., eating healthfully, exercising)—risk-taking behaviors may jeopardize one's life, health, economic future, or personal and professional relationships. Thus, practitioners work toward initiating and/or sustaining health-promoting behaviors but attempt to stop or decrease risk-taking behaviors. Studies have revealed that the latter is a more difficult goal than sustaining a healthy behavior. Certain attributes of risk-taking behaviors make them distinct from other behaviors. There are also classes of behaviors that co-occur, and research has been conducted on the causes of ...

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