Psychosocial factors as determinants of risk-taking behaviour among undergraduates of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
The study identified the prevalence of risk-taking behaviour among undergraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University. It also examined the influence of family type and peer influence on risk-taking behaviour among the students. It further investigated the influence of self-esteem and personality types on risk-taking behaviour of the students and ascertained the relative contributions of psychological factors (self-esteem and personality types) and social factors (family type and peer influence) to the risk-taking behaviour of the students. These were with a view to providing information on factors that determined risk-taking behaviour of the students. The study adopted the survey research design. The population for the study comprised Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) undergraduates. The sample consisted of 1,040 undergraduates selected using multistage sampling technique. A total of 1,040 copies of questionnaire were given, but 976 copies were found valid for the analysis. Two Departments each were selected from 13 faculties in OAU using simple random sampling technique to give a total of 26 departments. Forty students were selected from each department using convenience sampling technique. Three adapted instruments were used to collect data, namely: Questionnaire on Risk-taking Behaviour (QRTB) of Blais, Weber and Betz (2013); Questionnaire on Social Factors (QSF) of Steinberg (1987) and Questionnaire on Psychological Factors (QPF) of Rosenberg (1965), Goldberg (1999) and Elegbeleye (2008). Data collected were analysed using simple percentages, chi-square and multiple regression statistics. The results showed that 15.8%, 69.6% and 14.7% of the undergraduates in OAU demonstrated low, moderate and high risk-taking behaviour respectively. The results also showed that family type significantly influenced risk-taking behaviour of the undergraduates (χ2=38.35, p<0.05). The results further showed a significant influence of peers (χ2=215.68, p<0.05) and self-esteem (χ2=12.76, p=0.02) on the risk-taking behaviour of the students while there was no significant influence of personality types (χ2=0.62, p=0.733) on their risk-taking behaviour. Finally, the results showed that psychological factors (self-esteem and personality types) had a relative contribution to risk-taking behaviour of the undergraduates (beta=0.10, t=3.04, p<0.002) while social factors (family type and peer influence) had no relative contribution to their risk-taking behaviour (beta=0.31, t=9.85, p=0.000). The study concluded that students were influenced by such psychosocial factors as family type, peer influence and self-esteem in their risk-taking activities while personality type did not.