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Clinical Trial
, 33 (5), 814-23

The Role of Contextual and Personal Factors in Children's Risk Taking

Clinical Trial

The Role of Contextual and Personal Factors in Children's Risk Taking

D C Miller et al. Dev Psychol.


The primary aims of the present studies were to (a) add to the sparse developmental database on risk taking and (b) conduct initial tests of a self-regulation model (SRM) of risk taking. According to the SRM, inappropriate risk taking is associated with overconfidence, falling prey to dysregulating influences (e.g., impulsivity, peer presence, etc.), and an insensitivity to outcomes. Experiment 1 tested these proposals by assessing the effects of peer presence and 4 personal factors on the risk taking of 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders. Results generally supported the predictions of the SRM. In Experiment 2, the SRM gained further support from the finding that 5 variables correlated with risk taking in 4th, 6th, and 8th graders: ability beliefs, a preference for thrill seeking, peer nomination, competitiveness, and interest. The discussion focuses on the meaning of age and gender differences in risk-taking as well as the interventional implications of the SRM.

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