Because people of all ages face decisions that affect their quality of life decision-making competence is important across the life span. irrecoverable losses (Sleesman et al. 2012 all participants received the scenario with large irrecoverable losses first. The SRPIN340 first scenario which had relatively large irrecoverable losses read “You have driven halfway to a vacation destination. SRPIN340 Your goal is to spend time by yourself. You feel sick. You feel that you would have a much better weekend at home. You think that it is “too bad” you already drove halfway because you would much SRPIN340 rather spend the time at home. Please think about what you would do if you were in this situation. Would you be more likely to stick with your plans or to cancel your plans?” The ‘sunk’ prior investment of having driven halfway should tempt decision makers to stick with their plans. However theories of rational decision making posit that the correct decision is to ignore prior investments and select the course of action that will make the decision maker better off in the future that is canceling plans and returning home. The decision maker should also make similar choices when prior investments are large or small. Hence the second scenario which had relatively small irrecoverable losses was similar but entailed being at home rather than halfway to the destination. Participants were randomly assigned to whether or not their presented scenarios involved the presence of a friend. Thus approximately half of the participants received these two scenarios as presented here and the other half received scenarios referring to “you and your friend” rather than just “you.” The analyses reported here control for whether or not the scenarios involved the presence of a friend though reported findings showed no difference between these conditions. After each scenario participants indicated what they would do on a scale from 1 (most likely to stick with plans) to 6 (most likely to cancel plans) with higher ratings reflecting appropriately resisting sunk costs. Coping strategies After each scenario participants also indicated their strategies for coping with the failed plans. To measure coping strategies that involve rumination avoidance we adapted six items from the Disengagement versus Preoccupation dimension of the Action Control Scale with positively framed items measuring disengagement from negative ruminative thoughts (e.g. “I would easily forget about it”) and negatively framed items measuring preoccupation with ruminative thoughts (e.g. “It would take me a long time to adjust myself to it”) (Dieffendorf Hall Lord & Strean 2000 as well as eight coping items from the Constructive Thinking Inventory with positively framed items reflecting focusing on the positive instead of ruminating about the negative (e.g. “I would try to imagine the best outcome and avoid thinking about what might go wrong”) and negatively SRPIN340 framed items doing the opposite (e.g. “I would waste a lot of time worrying about it instead of just doing something about it”) (Epstein & Meier 1989 Katz & Epstein 1991 We selected the Disengagement versus Preoccupation dimension of the Action Control Scale because it had previously detected age-related differences in coping strategies (Kessler & Staudinger 2009 and the Constructive Thinking Inventory because it had been associated with improved decisions about sunk costs (Bruine de Bruin et al. 2007 All coping items were presented with a Likert scale that ranged from 1 (definitely false) to 6 (definitely true). Participants rated how true the statement was for them when deciding how to deal with failed plans. After reverse-coding negatively framed items the mean scores of the items taken from the separate scales were highly correlated at each assessment (r=.62 p<.001 for high irrecoverable losses; r=.63 p<.001 for low irrecoverable losses) with Cronbach’s alpha showing good internal consistency across all items (α=.88 for high irrecoverable losses; Rabbit Polyclonal to CCT6A. α=.87 for low irrecoverable losses) with all items loading highly onto the first unrotated factor (>.42 for high irrecoverable losses; >.38 for low irrecoverable losses). For the analyses presented below we computed the mean coping score across all presented items for the scenario with high irrecoverable SRPIN340 losses and for the scenario with low irrecoverable losses. Results Analysis.