First Advisor

Frank F. Miles

Term of Graduation

Spring 1975

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Alcoholism -- Treatment, Risk-taking (Psychology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 96 pages)


Many-psychotherapists feel that the capacity to risk is a necessary ingredient for change. Whether that change occur in a person seen in a professional context or in a person who views new behavior as being more rewarding, risk and change go hand in hand. Coleman (1972) described this relationship in the following way:

Life often poses problems in which the pursuit of increased satisfactions involves giving up present hard-won security and taking new risks. For the neurotic, this is likely to prove an especially anxiety-arousing conflictful situation [p. 226].

Why should this be true? It seems that one of the major ways we keep ourselves from risking is by requiring knowledge of what is going to happen before we will try something new. Polster and Polster (1972) state:

For most people the need to be able to predict the results of their actions prevents them from easily reaching beyond the existing forms of behavior where the greatest opportunities are present. If they venture into unfamiliar territory, while they might gain an increased sense of excitement and power, they might lose their easy understanding and feel unprepared and alien [p. 148].

Another force which makes risking, for change, a difficult process is the fear of knowledge of oneself. Part of our energy is directed towards maintaining and protecting was conducted by dividing the sample into two groups defined by attendance at the out-patient clinics.

It was hypothesized that subjects attending the out-patient clinics would show larger changes in the direction of increased risk taking between pre and post-program testing conditions, and that their scores would be lower numerically, indicating a greater willingness to take risks.

Change in the direction of increased risk taking was found to be the major predictor of attendance at the outpatient clinics. Absolute willingness to risk, as measured by the questionnaire was not found to be significantly different between the two groups.


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