Openness
to Experience. This factor involves an individual’s
willingness to try new activities, intellectual curiosity, attentiveness to
inner feelings, and preference for variety. It consists of facets like fantasy,
aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values. A high score on this domain
is characterized by the desire to try new activities, having a preference for
novelty instead of familiarity, and the tendency to experience deeper and
emotional states (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

Extraversion.
This personality trait includes an individual’s sociability, excitement,
stimulation-seeking, assertion, and being active. This factor consists of
facets like – warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, positive
emotions, and excitement-seeking. An active, fast-paced life and a desire for
excitement and stimulation are related to a high score on extraversion (Costa &
McCrae, 1992). The excitement-seeking facet of extraversion is very similar to
sensation seeking, which has already been found to be associated with
risk-taking (Zuckerman & Kuhlman, 2000).

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Neuroticism.
The factor of neuroticism includes apprehension, fear, worry, impulsiveness,
and self-consciousness. This includes facts like – anxiety, angry, hostility,
depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability. A low score
on neuroticism is characterized by being emotionally stable, calm, and relaxed and
able to cope with stressful situations (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Conversely,
a sigh score on this personality domain corresponds with being prone to worry,
fear, anxiety, and so on. In the context of this neuroticism domain,
impulsiveness does not refer to spontaneity, instead it is suggestive of the
inability to control cravings or urges.

Agreeableness.
This personality factor involves traits such as altruism, trusting,
cooperation, and compliance. This factor comprises facets such as, trust,
straightforwardness, altruism, modesty, compliance, and tender-mindedness. The
desire to be cooperative and a high concern for the well-being of others
characterizes a high score on agreeableness (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

Conscientiousness.
This factor consists of traits indicating that the individual is deliberate,
self-disciplined, punctual, reliable, and competent. Facets included under this
factor are competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving,
self-discipline, and deliberation. A high score on conscientiousness is
characterized by organization, and the tendency to plan and think carefully
before acting. Low scorers on the deliberation facet of conscientiousness are
hasty and act without considering the consequences of their actions and
behaviours.

The
patterns of scores on the five factors may change slightly in early adulthood
when agreeableness and conscientiousness scores increase and extraversion,
neuroticism, and openness scores decrease. However, after age 30 the score on
each personality factor generally remains stable for the remainder of the
lifespan (McCrae & Costa, 1990).

Statement of Research Problem

The
present study aims to study the relationship between personality and
risk-taking behaviours, among young adults. For the purpose of the study, the
NEO-FFI-3 personality questionnaire and the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking
(DOSPERT) Scale will be administered on the target sample of young adults
between the ages of 25 to 35 years. Risk-taking behaviour is not confined to
certain stages of the lifespan. It is essentially ubiquitous and requires
precise and multilevel assessment. The NEO-FFI-3 measures personality on the
basis of five personality factors: Openness to experience, Extraversion,
Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The DOSPERT Scale assesses
risk-taking in five domains: Financial decisions, Health/Safety, Recreational,
Ethical, and Social.  Respondents rate
the likelihood that they would engage in domain-specific risky behaviours or
activities.

Rationale of the Study

Much theory and research has
focused on adolescent risk-taking behaviour, but has not ventured into
risk-taking behaviours among young adults. Common conceptualizations include
Zuckerman’s (1971) perspective on sensation seeking, the problem behaviour
perspective identified by Jessor and Jessor (1977), and the causal model of
risk-taking behaviour by Irwin and Millstein (1986). While beneficial to
understanding risky behaviors, these perspectives do not take into account
specific personality traits that contribute to risk-taking or cognitive
appraisals of risky behaviors.

Recent
research in adolescence has mainly focused on the modulation of risk-taking
behaviour by emotional and social factors, such as the presence of peers
(Steinberg & Monahan, 2007). While adolescents spend a substantial amount
of time with their peers, and are therefore, likely to be influenced by them,
however, other factors do play a role, such as one’s genetic make-up,
psychological stress, hormonal imbalances, maturity, responsibility, and so on.
Individuals differ in their tendency to take risks and personality
characteristics (Steinberg, 2008), including one’s sensitivity to reward and
punishment, impulsiveness, sensation-seeking, openness to experience, and
extraversion, have all been commonly linked to increased risk-taking behaviour
(Boyer, 2006; Deckman & DeWall, 2011). This present study is therefore, a
focus on the influence of personality traits on risk-taking behaviours.

Most
researches based on personality and risk-taking behaviour focus on the
developmental stage of adolescence. Studies on young adults is evidently less
abundant. It should be mentioned that risky behaviour that is attempted during
adolescence is not necessarily abandoned during adulthood. It may be so that,
the presence of certain risk-taking behaviours in adolescence can predict other
risky behaviours in young adulthood (Essau, 2004). Therefore, the study targets
the population of young adults. Certain practices or acts, such as driving
while intoxicated, violence, and risky sexual behaviours, present health
hazards to others. Since these activities entail substantial economic and
social costs to the health and well-being of individuals as well as to the
society, it is important to explore and understand the extent of involvement of
the young adults in them.

In
addition, the majority of studies and research on risk-taking behaviour has
been conducted in the Western countries. In a research by Ozmen (2006) in the
Turkish context, the role of self-esteem and locus of control on adolescent
risk-taking behaviour was studied. Thus, the present study is in the Indian
context, as the role of personality of young adults in different cultures
should also be considered in understanding the risk-taking behaviours.

Significance of the Study

One of the major risks faced by today’s adults
involves choices that they make. Although many studies exist focusing on
risk-taking behaviours, there have been no significant amount of research
exploring the relationship between personality and RTB among young adults,
especially in the Indian context. Research studies have not explored
how individuals with different personality traits perceive and engage in risky
behaviours. The knowledge of these variables in relation to each other is
valuable in contributing to the research on personality traits and how they are
observed in human actions and behaviour. The
relationships observed in the current study will help increase our
understanding of risk-taking behaviour in sample of young adults.