Influence of social stress on risk-taking behavior in adolescents

Elizabeth K. Reynolds, Whitney M. Schreiber, Kathy Geisel, Laura MacPherson, Monique Ernst, C. W. Lejuez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Risk-taking behavior involves making choices with uncertain positive or negative outcomes. Evidence suggests that risk-taking behavior is influenced by emotional state. One such emotional experience is social anxiety, which has been related to both risk-avoidant and risk-seeking decision making. The present study examined a community sample of 34 adolescents grouped into low (Low SA Group) and high (High SA Group) social anxiety (SA). Both groups were compared on changes in performance on a risk taking task (Balloon Analogue Risk Task) between a social threat condition (modified Trier Social Stress Test, High Stress) and a control condition (Low Stress). These conditions were administered on different days, and the order was counterbalanced across subjects. A group. ×. condition interaction revealed that the High SA Group showed greater risk-taking behavior when exposed to the High Stress Condition compared to the Low Stress Condition, while the Low SA Group evidenced no difference between the two conditions. Interpretations for the increased risk behavior under the condition of social stress for those high in social anxiety are discussed as well as implications for understanding the complex relationship between social anxiety and risk behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Adolescent
  • In vivo anxiety manipulation
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of social stress on risk-taking behavior in adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this