Decision Making Skills

Whether you decide or not, you still make a decision

What is Decision Making Skill?

Decision-making skills of an individual refer to his ability to choose the best course of action after carefully analysing and examining the available options and the given circumstances

How does Decision Making Skills help?

Decision-making skills are considered crucial to improve life outcomes across the life cycle. Better Decision-Making Ability has been linked to:

Decreased Negative Life Events

Bruine de Bruin et al (2007) found that adults who performed better on decision making in standardized tests were less likely to report negative life events indicative of poor decision making, including bad health, poverty, and risk behaviour.

Stable Life

Using an adult sample, Parker and Fischhoff (2005) established an association between higher performance on standardized decision-making tests and more intact social environments, more constructive cognitive styles, and fewer maladaptive risk behaviours.

Professional Growth and Success

Kose and Sencan (2016) found a statistically significant relationship between decision-making skills and managerial performance, highlighting the importance of decision-making skills for career development and work success.

More Positive Peer Environment among Adolescents

Focusing on adolescents, Fischhoff (2008) showed that high-level decision-making skills correlated positively with low-risk families, families with higher social and economic status, and more positive peer environments.

Decreased Maladaptive Behaviour in Teens

In pre-adolescents (ages 10–11 years), Weller et al (2004) showed that higher decision-making skill was associated with lower reported behavioural difficulties and greater instances of prosocial behaviours at ages 12–13 years.

Decreased High-risk Behaviour in Young Adults

Balovar (2014) confirmed the correlation between low-level decision-making skills and high-risk behaviour (substance abuse and risky sexual behaviour) in young adults (university students).

Improved Mental Health in Adults

Bavolar and Orosova (2015) Other studies have investigated the link between decision-making styles and life outcomes. Using a sample of high school and university students, Bavolar and Orosova (2015) found that an intuitive decision-making style is a protective factor for mental health

Increased Academic Achievements in Students

Baiocco et al (2009) found that, in adolescents aged 15–19 years, a rational decision-making style correlates positively with high school achievements. In contrast, a spontaneous and avoidant decision-making style correlates positively to the number of absences from school.

How competent am I in Decision Making?

To know your current level of decision-making skills, take our FREE DECISION-MAKING SKILLS TEST! We will evaluate your proficiency in decision making.

What does the Decision-Making Skills Scale Assess?

1. Making Decisions in Everyday Life

Developers: Melissa Cater, Mary Arnold, Lisa Bouillion Diaz, Katherine Heck, June Mead, Beverly Spears, Ben Silliman, and Maureen Mulroy, with Jill Walahoski and Suzanne LeMenestrel

Making decisions is the process of identifying and selecting a choice among possible alternatives and then evaluating the consequences of that choice. This survey assesses youth’s decision-making ability by examining the frequency of use of the following skills that are needed to engage in sound decision-making.

  • Define the Problem
  • Identify the Alternatives
  • Identify the Risk and Consequences
  • Select an Alternative
  • Evaluate

Youth Life Skills Evaluation Project at Penn State. Instrument also cited by the CYFAR Life Skills Project at Texas A&M University.


We profusely thank Daniel F. Perkins, Ph.D. Principal Scientist, Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness/ Pennsylvania State University / 402 Marion Building / University Park, for granting permission to use Making Decisions in Everyday Life.

Can I improve my Decision-Making Skills?

Yes, as anyone can learn driving or swimming, decision making skills are also teachable and learnable.