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Title: The role of self-regulation on risk-taking propensity in early adulthood and adolescene
Author: Magar, Emily C. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 3136
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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Surprisingly little empirical research has been conducted assessing the relationships between emotional regulation, cognitive regulation, and different aspects or risky behaviour.  In the first study of this thesis, undergraduate students’ self-reported emotion regulation predicted participation in cigarette smoking and alcohol induced problem behaviours.  Poorer levels of cognitive regulation were associated with a greater endorsement of risky activities portrayed in hypothetical vignettes and increasing ratings of benefits to participating in risky behaviours.  In Study 2, behavioural tasks of cognitive control indicated that a lower capacity to switch attention was linked to increased risk-taking on a simulated task of gambling.  The period of adolescence has been identified as a time of increased risk-taking due to protracted maturation of neuronal processes responsible for efficient self-regulatory control.  In Study 4, linear improvements were found between the ages of 11 and 17 years on behavioural tasks measuring key executive functions relating to working memory and mental set-switching while self-report measures of cognitive and emotion regulation followed a curvilinear trend.  After controlling for age, aspects of emotion regulation were found to predict adolescent smoking behaviour.  Similarly, self-reported cognitive regulation was found to predict cigarette smoking in addition to alcohol-related problem behaviours, hypothetical risk-taking, and a trend towards greater ratings of benefits to participating in risky activities.  Behavioural measures of cognitive control in Study 5, however, were not found to predict adolescent risk-taking.  The research findings of this thesis suggest that assessment of cognitive and emotional regulation may improve understanding of the causes of risky behaviour in adolescence and early childhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available