Risk taking through the adult life span

M. A. Okun, W. A. Stock, R. W. Ceurvorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Research on aging in general and on cautiousness in adulthood in particular has been plagued by several problems including (a) drawing of samples from the extremes of the adult age range; (b) relying on single criterion variables; and (c) paucity of data on the psychometric properties of scales. In the present study, three measures of risk taking were administered to a sample ranging from 18-78 years old. Reliability estimates indicated that the Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire had low reliability, both absolutely and in comparison to the Vocabulary Risk Test and the Risk Taking Questionnaire. Convergent validity analyses indicated that the Choice Dilemma Questionnaire was substantially correlated with the Risk Taking Questionnaire but not with the Vocabulary Risk Test. Age differences were found only on the Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire using dichotomous scoring. Results suggest that properties of the scale may, in part, account for observed age differences in risk taking scores on the Choice Dilemma Questionnaire. The currently popular notion that people become more cautious as they grow older was challenged and directions were provided for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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