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Risk as feelings or risk and feelings? A cross‐lagged panel analysis

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This article focuses on affective and cognitive processes underlying the perception of risk. A limitation with most process models of affect/cognition is that they include only concurrent emotions. By following a group ( n ?=?129) of military sailors prospectively during an international operation, we explored longitudinal relations between perceived risk and related feelings. Longitudinal cross-lagged path models were estimated to explore the relationships between perceived risk, worry, and emotional distress. Results gave support to earlier studies by showing that cross-sectional measures of risk and worry were weakly related. Across time, worry and emotional distress were reciprocally related. Perceived risk had impact on worry but not on emotional distress. Neither worry nor emotional distress influenced perceived risk. The risk-as-feelings hypothesis postulates a direct effect of feelings onto behavioural choice, and a reciprocal relation between cognitive evaluations and feelings. Our findings do not support a reciprocal relation between judgements of risk and feelings, but an impact from risk on to worry. Between various measures of feelings reciprocity seems to exist. Further replications, including also behavioural measures, are needed.

Keywords: emotional distress; risk as feelings; risk perception; worry

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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