Individual differences in decision-making styles
Haggins, Sherry Elizabeth
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The purposes of this study were to: (a) identify differences in decision-making style and personal growth initiative in college students with respect to class standing, race, gender, and age; (b) determine whether coping strategy profiles of college students differ with respect to high or low personal growth initiative; (c) examine the relationship between differences in decision-making styles and level of personal growth initiative in college students; and (d) examine how the degree of personal growth initiative relates to differences in decision-making style and coping strategies employed by college students. The General Decision Making Styles scale, the COPE Inventory, and the Personal Growth Initiative Scale, were administered to 143 undergraduate students during the last month of the fall 2004 semester. Students were enrolled in a section of either first-year/sophomore level classes or junior/senior level classes that were not required but recommended by the University of Georgia. Individuals with high personal growth initiative reported higher problem-focused and emotion focused coping than individuals with low personal growth initiative. However, personal growth initiative was more strongly linked to problem-focused coping than emotion-focused coping. Findings also revealed that the propensity to use rational and intuitive decision-making styles increase as personal growth initiative increases. Results indicated that the propensity to use avoidant decision-making decreases as personal growth initiative increases. The knowledge gained from this study will have implications for counselors, student affairs practitioners, and faculty to: (a) assist clients or students in the process of change and growth in order to prepare them for challenges associated with making career and other life decisions; (b) prepare clients or students to cope with and adapt to new circumstances that result from decisions; and (c) enable clients or students to perceive choices and actively choose avenues for growth. The findings also have implications for career development, decision-making, and coping literature.