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Taking responsibility: Self-attribution for risk creation and its influence on the motivation to engage in risk management behaviors

Taking responsibility: Self-attribution for risk creation and its influence on the motivation to engage in risk management behaviors
Taking responsibility: Self-attribution for risk creation and its influence on the motivation to engage in risk management behaviors
Many risks (e.g., climate change, poor health, plastic pollution) can be the result of human behaviors. Although anthropogenic risk creation is rarely intentional, it is still possible that in many circumstances individuals will recognize some degree of personal responsibility for creating the risk and, therefore, may perceive a moral obligation to manage that risk (e.g., reducing carbon emissions, eating a low-fat diet, boycotting single-use plastics). However, the extent to which risk management behaviors are motivated by self-attribution for risk creation has received little empirical attention. To address this issue, a study was conducted in which participants responded to three scenarios (road safety, environmental, animal welfare) that each described a situation in which a particular risk developed and in which the participant’s liability for creating the risk varied. Participants then responded to measures of self-attribution for risk creation, perceived risk, objective liability, guilt, moral standards and willingness to manage the risk. A multiple regression showed that the only significant predictor of the participant’s willingness to manage the risk was self-attribution for risk creation. Moreover, further analysis showed that the positive relationship between self-attribution for risk creation and the willingness to manage the risk was moderated by perceived risk. Hence, individuals who accept greater responsibility for creating a risk may be more willing to engage in actions to manage that risk, and his/her willingness is also likely to increase as his/her perception of the risk increases. These findings provide new insights into the motivational forces underlying risk management behaviors and highlights important directions for future research and risk communication strategies.
responsibility, risk behavior, risk creation, risk perception, self-attribution
1366-9877
Dawson, Ian
dff1b440-6c83-4354-92b6-04809460b01a
Dawson, Ian
dff1b440-6c83-4354-92b6-04809460b01a

Dawson, Ian (2019) Taking responsibility: Self-attribution for risk creation and its influence on the motivation to engage in risk management behaviors. Journal of Risk Research. (doi:10.1080/13669877.2019.1673802).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many risks (e.g., climate change, poor health, plastic pollution) can be the result of human behaviors. Although anthropogenic risk creation is rarely intentional, it is still possible that in many circumstances individuals will recognize some degree of personal responsibility for creating the risk and, therefore, may perceive a moral obligation to manage that risk (e.g., reducing carbon emissions, eating a low-fat diet, boycotting single-use plastics). However, the extent to which risk management behaviors are motivated by self-attribution for risk creation has received little empirical attention. To address this issue, a study was conducted in which participants responded to three scenarios (road safety, environmental, animal welfare) that each described a situation in which a particular risk developed and in which the participant’s liability for creating the risk varied. Participants then responded to measures of self-attribution for risk creation, perceived risk, objective liability, guilt, moral standards and willingness to manage the risk. A multiple regression showed that the only significant predictor of the participant’s willingness to manage the risk was self-attribution for risk creation. Moreover, further analysis showed that the positive relationship between self-attribution for risk creation and the willingness to manage the risk was moderated by perceived risk. Hence, individuals who accept greater responsibility for creating a risk may be more willing to engage in actions to manage that risk, and his/her willingness is also likely to increase as his/her perception of the risk increases. These findings provide new insights into the motivational forces underlying risk management behaviors and highlights important directions for future research and risk communication strategies.

Text
Taking Responsibility - Self Attribution for Risk Creation - Pre-Publication Version - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 12 April 2021.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 5 September 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 October 2019
Keywords: responsibility, risk behavior, risk creation, risk perception, self-attribution

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433968
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433968
ISSN: 1366-9877
PURE UUID: f8a793d5-a939-40bb-848e-1612dcf5d53d
ORCID for Ian Dawson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0555-9682

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 01:39

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