Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Cynthia Pietras

Second Advisor

Justin Myers

Third Advisor

Ashley Bravo


probability discounting, risk-taking, COVID-19, vaccine, decision-making, health compliance, safety behaviors


This study assessed the relationship between risk preferences, vaccine uptake, and the likelihood of engaging in risky COVID-19 campus-related behaviors in a sample of university students. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire to assess risk preferences for hypothetical financial gains and losses (using a probability discounting task), as well as COVID-19 safety behaviors, vaccine status, and demographic information. The study used a between-group and correlational research design to compare risk-taking across vaccine status groups and correlate risk-taking with pandemic safety behaviors. Understanding the relationships between individual risk preferences and pandemic safety behaviors can assist with health interventions on university campuses. The study resulted in a difference in gains vs. losses. The study found no difference in risk-taking across vaccine groups among COVID safety behaviors. The study found a slight negative correlation between safety behavior and risk-taking with losses; with higher safety behaviors being less risk-taking. These results suggest that risk preferences might be associated with compliance with pandemic safety behaviors in college students, but more research is needed.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until