Effects of using the epidemiology paradigm for studying risk-taking ehaviors
As may be seen from a study of the scholarly literature, the contemporary success of the notion of « risk-taking behavior » is largely due to use of the epidemiology paradigm for studying human behavior. The paradigm gives primacy to prediction over understanding, and in general to an individual-focused multifactor causality model. This in turn produces a proliferation of behaviors labelled « risky », raises methodological and discrimination problems, and makes it extremely difficult to bring scientific controversies to a close. From a sociological perspective, the disadvantage of the epidemiological approach to studying risk-taking behaviors is that it evacuates the social dimension of human behavior, especially since, in trying to resolve ongoing controversies, epidemiology-paradigm studies tend to favor approaches that subject risk-taking behavior to pharmacological or genetic determinism.