Home > Heuristics of human enhancement risk: a little chemical help?

(2013) Heuristics of human enhancement risk: a little chemical help? International Journal of Health Promotion and Education , 51 , (4) , pp. 212-227.


Research underscores an emergent public health challenge due to the increasing use of human enhancement (HE) products for aesthetic purposes. Of particular interest is the injecting use of HE products, and the degree to which injecting of these products for muscle building, tanning and body ‘site’ enhancement has entered into mainstream society. The aim of the research was to identify what is currently known about the injecting use of HE products within the context of public health concern. The findings provide a unique consumer profile of users, health consequences and sourcing mechanisms. Users do not identify as injecting drug users and are less informed about risks associated with the injecting of these unregulated products, potential for contamination and needle sharing. Cost-benefit forms of risk negotiation are grounded in inaccurate information via peer groups and online forums. We present a risk heuristics and public health discourse approach to understanding and addressing this concerning form of aesthetic enhancement grounded in the emphasis on appearance as the indicator of being healthy and attractive. We comment on the role of the Internet as driving force for availability and information retrieval, and offer suggestions for potential health educational approaches.

Item Type:Article
Date:2013
Page Range:pp. 212-227
Publisher:Institute of Health Promotion and Education
Volume:51
Number:4
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:B Substances > Steroids of abuse
F Concepts in psychology > Specific attitude and behaviour > risk-taking behaviour
G Health and disease > Etiology > Disease transmission factor > Needle sharing
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Risk and protective factors > Risk factors
T Demographic characteristics > Intravenous / injecting drug user

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