Temperamental influences on children's risk-taking in decision making: A dual process, multi-level analysis

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Abstract

Risk-taking can be either adaptive or maladaptive depending on the context, but maladaptive risk-taking sometimes has serious consequences. Understanding how self-control and other aspects of personality are related to risk-taking is important, as self-control can be improved through training. We examined how the regulative temperamental trait Activation control interacts with the reactive traits Drive and Fearfulness in risk-taking behavior in children. We tested 67 Swedish fourth-graders (m = 10.59 years, SD = 0.30) using the computerized risk-taking test BART-Y (Lejuez et al., 2002). Well-established temperamental scales, the SPSRQ-C (Colder & O'Connor, 2004) and the TMCQ (Simonds & Rothbart, 2004), were used to obtain caregiver reports on children's temperament. The findings suggest that activation control may have a profound effect on children's risk-taking behavior; relatively fearless children with high drive either adopted a high-risk approach or a very precautious approach in the BART-Y, depending on their level of activation control. To our knowledge, no previous research exists on the role of activation control in risk-taking. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Keywords

  • Decision-making, Risk-taking, Effortful control, Temperament
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-181
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume89
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes