Online risk behaviors

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Susan Davis


The widespread use of social network websites has made risky online behaviors salient to friends, family, officials, and potential employers. The present study was undertaken to investigate the potential of self-disclosure patterns, psychopathological personality characteristics, gender, and risky behaviors in the ethical, social, and health and safety domains to predict risky online behaviors. The Online Risky Behavior Questionnaire was developed to assess the amount of risky behavior online by 102 male and 73 female participants. Results of this study indicate that men are more likely than women to endorse engaging in risky behaviors online. For both men and women, taking ethical and health/safety risks, self-disclosing with more depth, and engaging in less impression management predicted risky online behaviors. However, for men, another predictor was antisocial personality characteristics. Women in the study were more likely to engage in impression management than were men. Women who were more likely to intend to self-disclose were also more likely to engage in risky social behaviors. New venues for social interactions offer the opportunities for new patterns of self-disclosure and risk-taking behaviors, and it is important for the psychological sciences to keep pace with the technological developments that inform our understanding of social behaviors. It is, therefore, suggested that future studies investigate the links between self-disclosure, socially-desirable reporting, gender differences, and risky online behaviors.


Online social networks Sociological aspects, Risk-taking (Psychology), Self-disclosure, Interpersonal relations, Social media Sociological aspects, Risk-taking (Psychology) Sex differences, Self-disclosure Sex differences, Personality; psychology; social psychology; social research; technology; personality characteristics; psychopathological; online; behavior; self-disclosure; desirable reporting; impression management; risk taking; risk; risky; gender; Facebook; social network; social media

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2013, author