Compensatory Health Behavior in Bicycle Helmet use


  • N. Messerli-Bürgy
  • M.S. Bachmann
  • I. Pjanic
  • J. Barth
  • H. Znoj


Background: Compensatory health behavior (e.g. safer cycling without helmet) is used to compensate for risky behavior and is facilitated by self-efficacy. To which extent compensatory health behavior is influenced by self-efficacy in cyclist remained unclear. Methods: A total of 134 cyclists with different helmet wearing frequencies (occasionally (OH) or never helmet (NH)) were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their compensatory health behavior when cycling without a helmet and on their general self-efficacy. Findings: An interaction between self-efficacy and use of a helmet on compensatory health behavior was found. OH-users with high self-efficacy showed more compensatory health behavior than OH-users with low self-efficacy. This effect was not present in NH-users. Discussion: We assume that OH-users engage in compensatory health behavior, whereas NH-users do not adapt their behavior and face higher risk for accidents. These persons may require specific attention in preventive actions.