Comparison of risk-taking tendencies between White and Asian American undergraduate students
Yousef, Jacob M
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Stephen Jeffrey Wilson, Thesis Supervisor Dr. Richard Alan Carlson, Honors Advisor
Riskiness Balloon Analogue Risk Task Sensation Seeking White Asian Resistance to Peer Influence
Risky patterns of behavior result in a huge number of unnecessary costs, injuries, and deaths. These specific patterns vary within subpopulations, and some significant differences have been demonstrated between ethnicities. The aim of the present study was to address the dearth in research on patterns of risk-behavior in Asian-Americans, specifically college students, by examining self-report and performance-based assessments of general risk-taking tendencies in this population. Asian-American college students were found to be less sensation-seeking, less likely to suffer from alcohol-related problems, and less responsive to peer influence. However, no significant differences in impulsivity or generalized risk-taking were evident. These patterns could be explained in a variety of ways, including the fact that some of the factors on the impulsivity assessment used in this study, such as lack of attention, seemed unrelated to risk-taking tendencies, and by the fact that the participants did not have much at stake on the generalized riskiness assessment. Further research using self-report and functional brain imaging are essential to providing a better idea regarding the nature of these patterns, which may have implications for preventing certain types of risk behaviors, or unnecessary riskiness in general.