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“Take care, honey!”: People are more anxious about their significant others' risk behavior than about their own


Ghassemi, Mirjam; Bernecker, Katharina; Brandstätter, Veronika (2020). “Take care, honey!”: People are more anxious about their significant others' risk behavior than about their own. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 86:103879.

Abstract

This research investigated people's affective reaction to and cognitive evaluation of risks taken by close others. Five experimental studies showed that individuals were more anxious when a significant other (e.g., their partner) intended to engage in behavior implying risk to health or safety than when they intended to engage in the same behavior themselves. This discrepancy did not emerge if the other was emotionally distant (e.g., an acquaintance), suggesting that the self-other discrepancy in anxiety is moderated by the quality of the relationship. Neither a perceived higher personal control, nor a perceived lower probability of encountering negative events, as suggested by research on self-other biases in risk assessment, accounted for the effect. However, it was partially mediated by individuals' tendency to imagine more severe consequences of others' (vs. own) risk behavior. Results are discussed with regard to their theoretical implications for the study of risk taking and close relationships.

Abstract

This research investigated people's affective reaction to and cognitive evaluation of risks taken by close others. Five experimental studies showed that individuals were more anxious when a significant other (e.g., their partner) intended to engage in behavior implying risk to health or safety than when they intended to engage in the same behavior themselves. This discrepancy did not emerge if the other was emotionally distant (e.g., an acquaintance), suggesting that the self-other discrepancy in anxiety is moderated by the quality of the relationship. Neither a perceived higher personal control, nor a perceived lower probability of encountering negative events, as suggested by research on self-other biases in risk assessment, accounted for the effect. However, it was partially mediated by individuals' tendency to imagine more severe consequences of others' (vs. own) risk behavior. Results are discussed with regard to their theoretical implications for the study of risk taking and close relationships.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science, Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 January 2020
Deposited On:12 Nov 2019 13:35
Last Modified:23 Feb 2021 08:21
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-1031
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2019.103879
Related URLs:https://osf.io/ehyx8/ (Research Data)

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