This factor involves an individual’swillingness to try new activities, intellectual curiosity, attentiveness toinner feelings, and preference for variety. It consists of facets like fantasy,aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values. A high score on this domainis characterized by the desire to try new activities, having a preference fornovelty instead of familiarity, and the tendency to experience deeper andemotional states (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Extraversion.
This personality trait includes an individual’s sociability, excitement,stimulation-seeking, assertion, and being active. This factor consists offacets like – warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, positiveemotions, and excitement-seeking. An active, fast-paced life and a desire forexcitement and stimulation are related to a high score on extraversion (Costa &McCrae, 1992). The excitement-seeking facet of extraversion is very similar tosensation seeking, which has already been found to be associated withrisk-taking (Zuckerman & Kuhlman, 2000). 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 scoreon neuroticism is characterized by being emotionally stable, calm, and relaxed andable 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 theinability 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.
Thedesire to be cooperative and a high concern for the well-being of otherscharacterizes 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 thisfactor are competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving,self-discipline, and deliberation. A high score on conscientiousness ischaracterized by organization, and the tendency to plan and think carefullybefore acting. Low scorers on the deliberation facet of conscientiousness arehasty and act without considering the consequences of their actions andbehaviours.Thepatterns of scores on the five factors may change slightly in early adulthoodwhen agreeableness and conscientiousness scores increase and extraversion,neuroticism, and openness scores decrease. However, after age 30 the score oneach personality factor generally remains stable for the remainder of thelifespan (McCrae & Costa, 1990).
Statement of Research ProblemThepresent study aims to study the relationship between personality andrisk-taking behaviours, among young adults. For the purpose of the study, theNEO-FFI-3 personality questionnaire and the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking(DOSPERT) Scale will be administered on the target sample of young adultsbetween the ages of 25 to 35 years. Risk-taking behaviour is not confined tocertain stages of the lifespan. It is essentially ubiquitous and requiresprecise and multilevel assessment.
The NEO-FFI-3 measures personality on thebasis of five personality factors: Openness to experience, Extraversion,Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The DOSPERT Scale assessesrisk-taking in five domains: Financial decisions, Health/Safety, Recreational,Ethical, and Social. Respondents ratethe likelihood that they would engage in domain-specific risky behaviours oractivities.Rationale of the StudyMuch theory and research hasfocused on adolescent risk-taking behaviour, but has not ventured intorisk-taking behaviours among young adults. Common conceptualizations includeZuckerman’s (1971) perspective on sensation seeking, the problem behaviourperspective identified by Jessor and Jessor (1977), and the causal model ofrisk-taking behaviour by Irwin and Millstein (1986). While beneficial tounderstanding risky behaviors, these perspectives do not take into accountspecific personality traits that contribute to risk-taking or cognitiveappraisals of risky behaviors.Recentresearch in adolescence has mainly focused on the modulation of risk-takingbehaviour by emotional and social factors, such as the presence of peers(Steinberg & Monahan, 2007). While adolescents spend a substantial amountof 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 personalitycharacteristics (Steinberg, 2008), including one’s sensitivity to reward andpunishment, impulsiveness, sensation-seeking, openness to experience, andextraversion, have all been commonly linked to increased risk-taking behaviour(Boyer, 2006; Deckman & DeWall, 2011). This present study is therefore, afocus on the influence of personality traits on risk-taking behaviours. Mostresearches based on personality and risk-taking behaviour focus on thedevelopmental stage of adolescence. Studies on young adults is evidently lessabundant. It should be mentioned that risky behaviour that is attempted duringadolescence is not necessarily abandoned during adulthood. It may be so that,the presence of certain risk-taking behaviours in adolescence can predict otherrisky behaviours in young adulthood (Essau, 2004). Therefore, the study targetsthe population of young adults.
Certain practices or acts, such as drivingwhile intoxicated, violence, and risky sexual behaviours, present healthhazards to others. Since these activities entail substantial economic andsocial costs to the health and well-being of individuals as well as to thesociety, it is important to explore and understand the extent of involvement ofthe young adults in them. Inaddition, the majority of studies and research on risk-taking behaviour hasbeen conducted in the Western countries. In a research by Ozmen (2006) in theTurkish context, the role of self-esteem and locus of control on adolescentrisk-taking behaviour was studied. Thus, the present study is in the Indiancontext, as the role of personality of young adults in different culturesshould also be considered in understanding the risk-taking behaviours.Significance of the StudyOne of the major risks faced by today’s adultsinvolves choices that they make. Although many studies exist focusing onrisk-taking behaviours, there have been no significant amount of researchexploring the relationship between personality and RTB among young adults,especially in the Indian context.
Research studies have not exploredhow individuals with different personality traits perceive and engage in riskybehaviours. The knowledge of these variables in relation to each other isvaluable in contributing to the research on personality traits and how they areobserved in human actions and behaviour. Therelationships observed in the current study will help increase ourunderstanding of risk-taking behaviour in sample of young adults.