So Manly, So Foolhardy - New Study Looks at the Role of Male Bravado in Recklessness

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What would you do if someone called you a coward? Would you do something daring to prove them wrong? Researchers at examine the risk-taking behaviors of men who feel the need to prove their manliness.

Men who feel the need to prove how manly they are have a higher likelihood of taking reckless risks.

Some men will go to great lengths to prove their courage and masculinity, even it means taking reckless or dangerous risks.

Research has consistently shown that men, especially younger age groups, are more likely to take reckless, sometimes foolish risks.

Whether it’s jumping over a canyon in a rocket-powered motorcycle, running with the bulls, or taking a selfie while leaning out of a fast-moving train, people will do insanely risky things to prove their bravery and to get likes - and the majority of these daredevils tend to be men. So why take a risk that could prove fatal? Recent research from indicates that hubris and the desire to prove one’s manliness can compel some men to take thoughtless and reckless chances.

Analyzing data from 4,945 people who took the Accident Proneness Test, PsychTests’ researchers singled out two distinct groups: men who take risks in order to prove their toughness and manliness (“Challengers”) and men who don’t (“Non-Challengers”).

> 77% of Challengers said that if they don’t see the point of a particular rule or regulation, they won’t follow it (compared to 9% of Non-Challengers).
> 54% said that they feel “energized” when breaking a rule (compared to 5% of Non-Challengers).
> 62% put contingencies in place before taking a risk (compared to 83% of Non-Challengers).
> 20% don’t check their work before handing it in (compared to 3% of Non-Challengers).
> 42% said that they would not intervene if they saw a colleague breaking an important safety rule that could result in an accident (compared to 5% of Non-Challengers).
> 27% have been fired at least once for unsafe behavior (compared to 2% of Non-Challengers).
> When faced with a problem at work, 61% of Challengers rely on faith or optimism to turn things around (compared to 20% of Non-Challengers).
> 36% would quit a job without finding a new one first (compared to 11% of Non-Challengers).
> Only 29% wear a seatbelt every single time they are in a car, whether they are a driver or passenger (compared to 80% of Non-Challengers).
> 63% will usually drive through yellow light even if they have time to stop (compared to 15% of Non-Challengers).
> 62% have been in trouble with the law at least once as a result of risk-taking behavior (compared to 19% of Non-Challengers).
> 38% drive a minimum of 20mph/32kph above the speed limit (compared to 3% of Non-Challengers).
> 36% have received more than one speeding ticket in the last year (compared to 6% of Non-Challengers).
> 37% have been involved in four or more accidents (compared to 8% of Non-Challengers).
> 50% have suffered more than one broken bone in their lifetime (compared to 29% of Non-Challengers).

> Illegal drag-racing (51% of Challengers vs. 12% of Non-Challengers).
> Hitchhiking (35% of Challengers vs. 16% of Non-Challengers).
> Doing a “dine and dash” (46% of Challengers vs. 8% of Non-Challengers).
> Running with the bulls (46% of Challengers vs. 5% of Non-Challengers).

“Research has consistently shown that men, especially younger age groups, are more likely to take reckless, sometimes foolish risks. Part of it is for the thrill, of course, as any stuntman or daredevil will tell you. However, ego, pride, and a desire to prove one’s manliness are factors that also play a role,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “In fact, among the men in the Challenger group, 87% said that they would do something daring if they were accused of being a coward, and 76% said that they make decisions based on how tough it will make them appear. The most shocking and, frankly, saddening statistic, was the fact that 74% of the Challenger men believe asking for help is a sign of weakness.”

“The question is, why go to such great lengths to prove their manliness? Because many of these men have been taught from a young age that it is inappropriate to show fear, vulnerability, or sadness; that crying or displaying any other emotion aside from anger is effeminate. So, these men find themselves having to do reckless and dangerous things to prove to others, but mostly to themselves, that they are ‘real men’,” concludes Dr. Jerabek.

Want to assess your accident proneness? Check out the Accident Proneness Test at

Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook:

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see

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Ilona Jerabek
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