Author: NaRita Anderson, Fred Fernatt, Robert Rodermund, Ron Sages & John Grable

Abstract – Extensive research shows that men report greater enjoyment and excitement from taking risks than do women. What remains to be answered is why women seem to exhibit risk attitudes that are less aggressive than men. In this paper, we apply aspects of power-control theory (PCT) as a theoretical foundation for explaining generalized risk-taking attitudes among women and men. We investigate the role of socialization from mothers in shaping the risk attitudes of their children. Using data from the NLSY, mothers were found to have little influence on the risk attitudes on daughters, although mothers’ SES may impart a profound influence on sons’ risk tolerances. It was also noted that children’s personality trait profiles were positively associated with their risk attitudes although the effects for boys differed from those of girls.