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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Jun;58(6):1073-80.

Risk taking and personality.

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Normative Aging Study, Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic, Boston, Massachusetts 02108.


Comparisons were made of the personality and social orientations of antisocial risk takers, defined as residents in a long-term drug-treatment facility (N = 24); adventurous risk takers, defined as rock climbers (N = 18); and prosocial risk takers, or heroes, defined as policemen and firemen decorated for bravery (N = 21). Measures included substance abuse proclivity, emotional arousability, conformity, moral reasoning, empathy, psychopathy, and sensation seeking. Discriminant analysis identified two functions that correctly classified 98.18% of the sample. Drug-unit residents had high scores on an Antisocial function, characterized by emotionality, depression, psychopathy, substance abuse proclivity, and lower scores on moral reasoning. Rock climbers had high scores on an Antistructural function, characterized by sensation seeking and moral reasoning, the latter reflecting the higher education level of the rock climbers. Neither discriminant function characterized the heroes. Thus, drug-unit residents, rock climbers, and heroes appear to represent both different psychological types and different forms of risk taking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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