Development of Multifaceted Risk Taking and the Relations to Sex Steroid Hormones: A Longitudinal Study

Jiska S. Peper, Barbara R. Braams, Neeltje E. Blankenstein, Marieke G.N. Bos, Eveline A. Crone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Risk taking is a multidimensional construct. It is currently unclear which aspects of risk-taking change most during adolescence and if/how sex hormones contribute to risk-taking tendencies. This study applied a longitudinal design with three time-points, separated by 2 years, in participants aged 8–29 years (670 observations). The Balloon Analogue Risk Task, a delay discounting task, and various self-report questionnaires were administered, to measure aspects of risk taking. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated mostly nonlinear age-related patterns in risk-taking behavior and approach-related personality characteristics (peaking in late adolescence). Increased testosterone and estradiol were found to increase risk-taking behavior and impulsive personality, but decrease avoidance-like personality. This study demonstrates that risk taking is most pronounced in mid-to-late adolescence and suggests that sex hormones accelerate this maturational process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1907
Number of pages21
JournalChild development
Issue number5
Early online date1 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

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