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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2018

Comparing GPs’ risk attitudes for their own health and for their patients’ : a troubling discrepancy?

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Antoine Nebout, Marie Cavillon, Bruno Ventelou



In this paper, we report the results of risk attitudes elicitation of a French general practitioners national representative sample (N=1568).


Willingness to take risks in four different domains (daily life, financial matters, own health and patient health) was collected through a large-scale telephone interview of GPs using self-reported 11-point Likert scale questions.


We uncover some specificities of the GPs population regarding their attitudes towards risk. In particular, we detect an important positive gap between their willingness to take risks in the domain of their own health and in the domain of the heath of their patients. This “patient-regarding” risk aversion is discussed with respect to its important consequences regarding medical behavior bias.


We confirm the self-other discrepancy found in the medical literature on physicians’ behaviors and emphasize the utility of the study and measures of personality traits such as “risk attitudes” for the medical professions and for the population they address.
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