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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


MARTIN-FERNANDEZ, Jesús et al. Risk-taking attitudes of people who seek health care: an exploratory approach through lottery games using generalized estimating equations. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2016, vol.90, e30003.  Epub June 07, 2021. ISSN 2173-9110.


The characterization of the risk-taking attitude of individuals may be useful for planning health care interventions. It has been attempted to study expressions of risk-taking attitude and evaluate characteristics of a standard lottery game in a population that seeks health care to elicit these attitudes.


Multicentric cross-sectional study. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, quality of life (EuroQol-5D), and health risk behaviors were collected from 662 users of 23 health centers selected by random sampling. Risk-taking attitude was evaluated by means of a self-evaluation scale and two lotteries games (L1 and L2; L2 included the possibility of economic losses). Generalized estimating equations (GEE) explicative models were used to evaluate the variability of risk-taking attitude.


Nineteen percent out of interviewed people (CI95%: 15.6-22.6%) expressed a high risk appetite, but only 10.0% (CI95% 7.0 to 13.0) were classified as risk-seeking by L2. It was found association between increased risk appetite and having a better perception of health status (0.110. CI95%: 0.007-0.212) or a higher income (0.010. CI95%: 0.017-0.123) or smoking status (0.059. CI95%: 0.004-0.114). Being Spanish was associated with lower risk appetite (-0.105. CI95%: -0.005 --0.205), as being over 65 (-0.031. CI95%:- 0.061- -0.001) or a woman (-0.038. CI95%:-0.064- -0.012). The intraclass correlation coefficient for self-evaluation scale was 0.511 (95% CI: 0.372 to 0.629), 0.571 (95% CI: 0.441-0.678) for L1 and 0.349 (95% CI: 0.186-0.493) for L2.


People who seek health care express certain inclination to risk, but this feature is attenuated when methodologies involving losses are used. Risk appetite seems greater in young people, males, people with better health, or more income, and in immigrants. Lottery games such as the proposed ones are a simple and useful tool to estimate individuals' inclination to risk.

Keywords : Risk-taking; Choice behaviour; Games; experimental; Immigrants; Tobacco use; Alcohol consumption; Primary Health Care.

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