Essay on How Can We Encourage People to Wear Helmets?

Submitted By OSUbuckeye232
Words: 720
Pages: 3

How Can We Encourage People to Wear Helmets?
Professional Literature
The health behavior selected in this paper is using helmets while riding a bicycle. Those who choose to not adhere to this behavior are more likely to sustain head injuries or death when riding a bike. In this section, 3 biopsychosocial factors determining helmet use will be reviewed in the literature: 1) the psychological factor of healthy beliefs, 2) the sociological factor of helmet requirement laws, and 3) the biological factor testosterone levels.
As a psychological factor, beliefs that one is vulnerable to head injury are associated with wearing a helmet while biking. Contrariwise, the flawed belief of invulnerability correlates with not wearing a helmet. Most undergraduate students feel safer when wearing a helmet and agree that can protect one from harm when in an accident. Most also concur that biking can be unsafe and that accidents are possible. Despite all of these healthy beliefs, a lot of undergrads still believe that a helmet is not necessary (Ross, 2010). This would suggest that most people know the benefits of wearing a helmet but still do not choose to do so. Optimism bias most likely accounts for this behavior. This means that people understand the risks of not wearing a helmet but believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them (Hemenway, 2012). This being said, educational campaigns should focus on targeting optimism bias to increase helmet use.
As a sociological factor, counties with required helmet laws have a higher percentage of helmet users. In one study, the rate of helmet use was recorded after legislation was enacted. In a span of 4 years, the number of cyclists wearing a helmet rose from 36% to 84% (LeBlanc, Beattie, and Culligan . 2002). In a separate study, the rate of injuries in adolescents was observed for a county with a new required helmet law. In just one year, the rate of injury had decreased by 27%. This accounts for all bicycle related injuries and not just head related injuries. On top of this, the rate of head injuries had lowered in all sex and age groups across the board (Pardi, King, Salemi, and Salvator, 2007). This suggests that required helmet laws both increases helmet use and decreases overall injuries. These results advocate that all counties should uphold a helmet requirement law.
As a biological factor, helmet use is influenced by testosterone levels. Helmet use seems to decrease with higher levels of testosterone. This could account for this disproportionate statistic of male head injuries. Not wearing a helmet is associated with risk taking. High testosterone levels in males accounts for higher risk taking tendencies (Goudriaan, Lapauw, Ruige, Feyen, Kaufman, Brand, and Vingerhoets, 2010). The highest testosterone levels of men are teenagers in puberty. This testosterone is needed for the many changes that happen to the body during puberty (Cavasos, 2011) but could also be the reason why some teenage boys are so reckless. This being the case, teenage boys should be targeted for helmet use campaigns.
In summary, psychologically, people who are able to…