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Keywords:

  • children;
  • risk decision-making;
  • trait anger;
  • anger expression style;
  • mediation factors

Abstract

In this study, 104 children completed a task, measuring risk decision-making, and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory for Children and Adolescents . Subjects were also asked to evaluate the degree of danger, benefit, fun and fear perceived for each risky choice. Analyses indicated that (a) risk decision-making was predicted by both trait anger and outward expression of anger; (b) appraisal of danger fully mediated the relationship between trait anger and risk; (c) perceptions of benefit, scare and fun partially mediated the relationship between trait anger and risk; and (d) appraisal of danger partially mediated the relationship between outward expression of anger and risk decision-making. The results provide evidence for a relationship between dispositional anger and risk decision-making during childhood, suggesting a possible explanation of the mechanisms below. In particular, risk decision-making can be viewed as the output of cognitive and emotive processes, linked to dispositional anger that leads children to be amused, optimistic and fearless in potentially risky situations. These findings substantiate the importance of incorporating cognitive and emotive factors in theories that seek to explain the relationship between personality traits and risk decision-making across a broad age range. Aggr. Behav. 35:14–23, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.