, Volume 189, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 161-171

Forecasted risk taking in youth: evidence for a bounded-rationality perspective

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Abstract

This research examined whether youth’s forecasted risk taking is best predicted by a compensatory (namely, subjective expected utility) or non-compensatory (e.g., single-factor) model. Ninety youth assessed the importance of perceived benefits, importance of perceived drawbacks, subjective probability of benefits, and subjective probability of drawbacks for 16 risky behaviors clustered evenly into recreational and health/safety domains. In both domains, there was strong support for a non-compensatory model in which only the perceived importance of the benefits of engaging in a risky behavior predicted youths’ forecasted engagement in risky behavior. The study overcomes earlier methodological weaknesses by fully decomposing participants’ assessments into importance and probability aspects for both benefits and drawbacks. As such, the 6findings provide clear evidence in support of a bounded-rationality perspective on youth decision making regarding risk taking.