Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Exploring optimism bias in parent predictions about a child's future health and socioeconomic expectations.

Davene Wright, Department of Pediatrics, UW

10/14/2016
12:30-1:30 PM PT
121 Raitt Hall

Co-Sponsor(s):

Department of Sociology

Optimism bias, the tendency to overestimate one’s chances of experiencing unlikely positive events relative to one’s peers, is present in parent predictions of their child’s long-term health outcomes, including their child’s risk for overweight or obesity and obesity-related co-morbidities in adulthood. We sought to understand whether parents are more optimistic about their child’s health outcomes relative to education, labor, and other socioeconomic outcomes. Discussion will focus on the potential impact of parent expectations on future child outcomes, including whether overestimation and over placement of child expectations can impact future child well-being.


Dr. Wright received her Bachelor’s in Polymer and Textile Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004 and completed her PhD in Health Policy with a concentration in Decision Sciences at Harvard University in 2012. Dr. Wright is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington (UW) and an Investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Wright’s current research agenda aims to promote the adoption of interventions, programs, and strategies to treat and prevent childhood obesity. Her methodological interests include economic evaluations, simulation modeling, and risk communication techniques.