An Exploratory Analysis of the Correlates of Risk-Taking Propensity in Canadian Military Personnel


The present paper, accepted on February 14 th, is the final corrected version.

There has been growing interest in the impacts of combat exposure on behavioral health outcomes such as alcohol use, risky driving and smoking in research on military personnel in recent years. One psychological factor that may explain such outcomes is an individuals’ risk-taking propensity. The present study thus examined the relationships of risk-taking propensity with demographic variables, deployment history, as well as a number of health and risk behaviors. Data collected as part of a comprehensive health survey in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2008 and 2009 were analyzed. Participants included a sample of 2157 Regular Force members, stratified to reflect the Regular Force in terms of rank, sex, and deployment history. Using subscales of the Domain-Specific Risk Taking Scale (DOSPERT), participants’ levels of risk-taking propensity in the health and safety and in the recreational domains were assessed. Results consistently pointed to the higher levels of risk-taking propensity among younger respondents and men. While non-commissioned members (NCMs) reported higher levels of health and safety risk-taking propensity than officers, officers reported higher levels of recreational risk-taking propensity than NCMs. Variation in health and safety, but not recreational risk-taking propensity was found by deployment history. Health and safety risk-taking propensity was associated with a number of health-compromising behaviors (e.g., poor eating habits, inconsistent helmet use, smoking, problem drinking), while recreational risk-taking propensity was associated with a number of health-enhancing behaviors (e.g., good eating habits, physical activity, never smoking). Results thus point to noteworthy variations in the correlates of risk-taking propensity by risk domain among military personnel.

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Lee, J. & Blais, A. (2014). An Exploratory Analysis of the Correlates of Risk-Taking Propensity in Canadian Military Personnel. Psychology, 5, 53-61. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.51010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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