Risk Taking Index
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About Risk Taking Index
To measure risk taking, a short, simple measure with high face validity was developed that asked about risk behaviors in several areas of life experience in which most people would potentially be exposed to risk. The use of short measures has precedents in the risk literature. There is evidence that short questionnaires and even single-item measures can be used effectively to measure some psychological constructs (Robins et al., 2001).
Robins and colleagues proposed that such measures are best used in reference to schematized, unidimensional, subjective constructs. The Risk-Taking Index fulfills these criteria first, by using an approach to risk that is likely to be understood by participants and part of their everyday thinking, i.e. asking respondents how frequently they engage in certain behaviors. Second, questions are presented for each of the six domains of risk-taking rather than assume generalized risk-taking. Third, given the research evidence concerning the subjectivity of risk perception and behavior (summarised in Slovic, 2001) subjective experiences of risk are assessed.
The Risk Taking Index is shown in full in Appendix I. Each item was answered using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Since past risk taking is a component of the Sitkin and Pablo (1992) model of risk-taking, participants were asked to rate their risk taking in each domain both now and in the past. The relationship between reported current and past risk-taking enabled consistency over time to be examined and the implications for dispositional orientations to risk to be considered.
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