The impact of prior experience of an almost accident on comparative optimism


The first aim of this study was to examine comparative optimism (the difference between evaluation of one‟s own risk and the evaluation of other people‟s risk). Because research supports the notion that personal experience moderates the optimistic bias, the second aim of the present study was to test the impact of prior experience of an “almost accident”. Real accidents are fortunately not too frequent, thus we wondered if the confrontation with an almost accident; which is a more frequent situation, could have the same impact on risk evaluation. Employees of a metallurgical plant in the Eastern part of France who have been confronted or not with an almost accident were asked to evaluate to what extent a work accident was likely to occur for them and/or one of their work colleagues. We found that people more usually consider the risk of their colleague being a victim of a work accident than themselves. However, we found for employees who have had an almost accident in the last three months this phenomenon is opposite. They estimate that their own risk as higher than the risk to their colleague.

How to Cite

Spitzenstetter, F. & Raffin, D., (2009) “The impact of prior experience of an almost accident on comparative optimism”, EWOP in Practice 3(1), 11–15. doi:







Florence Spitzenstetter (University of Strasbourg)
Didier Raffin (University of Strasbourg)



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This article has been peer reviewed.

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