Exploring Relations Between Positive Mood State and School-Age Children’s Risk Taking


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Abstract

Objective To examine whether children engage in greater risk taking when in a positive versus neutral mood state, and whether positive urgency trait relates to risk taking. Methods Positive mood in 7–10-year-old children was induced experimentally, and children’s risk-taking intentions and actual behaviors were measured when the child was in a positive and neutral mood state. Results Within-person comparisons revealed that children showed greater risk-taking intentions and actual risk behaviors when in a positive mood state compared with a neutral one. Positive urgency was associated with greater risk taking when in a positive mood state, and this effect was stronger in the actual risk taking than intentions to risk take task. Conclusions Mood state affects children’s risk taking. Positive mood is associated with greater risk taking in elementary-school children, and those high in positive urgency are especially likely to show this effect. Implications for injury prevention are discussed.

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