Trait anxiety and economic risk avoidance are not necessarily associated: Evidence from the framing effect

Ruolei Gu, Runguo Wu, Lucas S. Broster, Yang Jiang, Rui Xu, Qiwei Yang, Pengfei Xu, Yue Jia Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


According to previous literature, trait anxiety is related to the tendency to choose safety options during risk decision-making, that is, risk avoidance. In our opinion, anxious people's risk preference might actually reflect their hypersensitivity to emotional information. To examine this hypothesis, a decision-making task that could elicit the framing effect was employed. The framing effect indicates that risk preference could be modulated by emotional messages contained in the description (i.e., frame) of options. The behavioral results have showed the classic framing effect. In addition, individual level of trait anxiety was positively correlated with the framing effect size. However, trait anxiety was not correlated with risk-avoidance ratio in any condition. Finally, the relationship between anxiety and the framing effect remained significant after the level of depression was also taken into account. The theoretical significance and the major limitations of this study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - Jan 31 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Rong Su for helping with data collection, and Mingxia Zhang and Nan Lin for providing suggestions on data analysis. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571124, 31500920, 81503480, 81471376, 31671173), 973 Program (2014CB744600), and the Beijing National Science Foundation (7154227).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Gu, Wu, Broster, Jiang, Xu, Yang, Xu and Luo.


  • Decision-making
  • Depression
  • Framing effect
  • Risk avoidance
  • Trait anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Trait anxiety and economic risk avoidance are not necessarily associated: Evidence from the framing effect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this