Risk-taking as a personality trait

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Eric S. Knowles
Henry Cutter
David Walsh
Nancy Casey
Cite this article:  Knowles, E., Cutter, H., Walsh, D., & Casey, N. (1973). Risk-taking as a personality trait. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 1(2), 123-136.


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Consistencies in risk-taking behavior were investigated in a multi-method, convergent validity study of 13 risk-related measures. Fifty-six student nurses served as participants. As with earlier studies, a general convergence was not found. However, factor analysis of the correlations indicated 2 qualitatively different kinds of dimensions. In addition to 5 strategy traits, a single motivational trait was identified. The motivational trait was interpreted as identifying a person’s general willingness to approach or avoid risk situations. Data, independent of the factor analysis, supported the approach-avoidance construct. The results suggest (a) a redefinition of risk-taking as a personality trait; and (b) that consistencies in risk behavior do occur across a variety of situations.
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