A Tri-modal Risk Attitude Indicator for Aviation Personnel: Design and Diagnostic Validity

Marian Popa, Cezarina Rotaru, Ioana Oprescu


In accordance with Atkinson’s risk preference theory, we see the conduct within risk situations as a result of opposite tendencies between risk and prudence orientation. In order to asses risk attitude, we designed a system made up of three specific indicators, based on a genuine interpretation of AC-REF (ACceptance-REFusal) values inventory (Zorgo, 1977). Risk significance (as a physical threat, danger for life or health) of the 272 AC-REF items has been subjected to an evaluation on a 1 to 10 scale, by a sample of 96 subjects. Following this procedure, 43 items with risk significance and 36 items with prudence significance were chosen. A sample of 1168 subjects has been evaluated with a computerized version of AC-REF inventory. Risk\prudence orientation modes have been calculated as a pondered sum of the transformed values of the items having risk\prudence significance. A composed indicator, meaning risk\prudence balance attitude, has been computed as difference between the two primary indicators. The three indicators, as three specific modes of risk attitude (risk preference, prudence preference, and risk \prudence balance), show very good psychometric features. The diagnostic (construct) validity of these indicators was tested against some major questionnaires such ALAPS (Armstrong Laboratory Aviation Personality Survey), Cattell 16PF, and Eysenck Personality Inventory. First of all, we got consistent and significant correlations between risk attitude mode indicators and some of the ALAPS scales, especially for “risk taking”. The other questionnaires also show significant association with these indicators. The three modal indicators show significant variations as far as psychosomatic type is concerned, but also related to age and gender.

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