Job loss and health threatening events modulate risk-taking behaviours in the Covid-19 emergency

C. Galandra, C. Cerami, G.C. Santi, A. Dodich, S.F. Cappa, T. Vecchi, C. Crespi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Covid-19 pandemic is exerting a tragic impact all around the world. First-person experience of life-threatening and stressful events can modify individuals’ risk perception, and, consequently, risk-taking behaviours. Here we investigated risk-taking profiles in 130 Italian residents, and compared healthcare to non-healthcare workers, during the lockdown phase. We ad hoc developed the “Covid-19 Risk Task”, including the classic monetary Holt-Laury Paired Lottery Task (Monetary Condition, MC) and two new ecological conditions exploring Covid-19 related risk-taking aptitudes in relation to different health (Health Status Condition, HsC) and employment (Employment Status Condition, EsC) outcomes. Results showed that, in the whole sample, individuals were more risk-averse in MC than in HsC and EsC. Moreover, a payoff increase produced a shift toward more risk-averse behaviours in MC, but not in HsC and EsC, where we found an opposite trend suggesting a more risk-loving behaviour. Finally, we found that healthcare workers were significantly less risk-averse compared to non-healthcare workers in EsC, but not in MC and HsC. These findings provided evidence of the possible effects of Covid-19 outbreak on risk-taking aptitudes. The negative impact on human choices and, consequently, on the whole world economy of this catastrophic life event must not be underestimated. © 2020, The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number22236
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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