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The role of time and risk preferences in adherence to physician advice on health behavior change

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  • Marjon Pol

    () (University of Aberdeen)

  • Deirdre Hennessy

    (Statistics Canada)

  • Braden Manns

    (University of Calgary)

Abstract

Changing physical activity and dietary behavior in chronic disease patients is associated with significant health benefits but is difficult to achieve. An often-used strategy is for the physician or other health professional to encourage behavior changes by providing advice on the health consequences of such behaviors. However, adherence to advice on health behavior change varies across individuals. This paper uses data from a population-based cross-sectional survey of 1849 individuals with chronic disease to explore whether differences in individuals’ time and risk preferences can help explain differences in adherence. Health behaviors are viewed as investments in health capital within the Grossman model. Physician advice plays a role in the model in that it improves the understanding of the future health consequences of investments. It can be hypothesized that the effect of advice on health behavior will depend on an individuals’ time and risk preference. Within the survey, which measured a variety of health-related behaviors and outcomes, including receipt and compliance with advice on dietary and physical activity changes, time preferences were measured using financial planning horizon, and risk preferences were measured through a commonly used question which asked respondents to indicate their willingness to take risks on a ten-point scale. Results suggest that time preferences play a role in adherence to physical activity advice. While time preferences also play a role in adherence to dietary advice, this effect is only apparent for males. Risk preferences do not seem to be associated with adherence. The results suggest that increasing the salience of more immediate benefits of health behavior change may improve adherence.

Suggested Citation

  • Marjon Pol & Deirdre Hennessy & Braden Manns, 2017. "The role of time and risk preferences in adherence to physician advice on health behavior change," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(3), pages 373-386, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eujhec:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0800-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10198-016-0800-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2020. "Economic preferences and compliance in the social stress test of the Corona crisis," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 391, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. Herberholz, Chantal, 2020. "Risk attitude, time preference and health behaviours in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    3. Christina Gravert & Kai Barron & Mette Trier Damgaard & Lisa Norrgren, 2020. "Time Preferences and Medication Adherence: A Field Experiment with Pregnant Women in South Africa," CEBI working paper series 20-29, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adherence; Time preference; Risk preference;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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