Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

Adolescence is a venerable and unstable time of adjustment in which a child transcends into adulthood (Casey, 2008). During adolescence there are examinable changes in various areas of life. These changes occur physically as the adolescent goes through puberty, as well as psychological changes where high emotional reactivity emerges, and social development is at its height (Casey, 2008).Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay Adolescents are more likely than adults or children to engage in risky behaviour that can subsequently lead to death or illness by drunk driving, carrying weapons, using illegal drugs, and engaging in unprotected sex, which in turn can lead to STD’s and teenage pregnancies (Eaton, 2006). The prior is proof that adolescents do engage in risky behaviour. …show more content…

The improved cognitive control and regulation of emotions with maturation of the pre-frontal cortex proposed by Yurgelun-Todd suggests that there is a linear increase developmentally from childhood to adulthood (Casey, 2008). In opposition to this theory various other theorists as well as the National Center for Health Statistics suggest that a non-linear increase occurs from childhood to adulthood. Immature prefrontal function cannot account for adolescent behaviour alone, but rather there are studies that may account for the nonlinear changes in behaviour and development seen during adolescence (Casey, 2008).Adolescent can be defined as developmental stage between childhood and adulthood where through this crucial period they will have rapid changes in physical, emotion, cognitive change and also behavior. The adolescent stages can be divided to early adolescence (10-12 years), middle adolescence (13-15 years) and late adolescent (16 above) (Feldman, 2005). According to Western psychologists, “adolescence primarily as preparation for adulthood and this period as a time of potential crisis brought on by the uncertainties of the physical and social transitions between life stages (Bucholtz, 2002, p.528).Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

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In this period they have many pressures exerted by family, peer, school and society. It also the most important period where it will determine and make teenager the person he or she is. One of the psychology scholar G.Stanley Hall noted that adolescent also called as period of storm and stress because adolescent being a time of emotional . He also argued that the concept of adolescent relates to the psychological problems associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood in modern societies (Demos, 1969).

At-risk behavior

The term ‘at-risk’ has been used widely in education, psychology, health and other field of study. The term of ‘at-risk’ always associated with many work like youth at risk or at-risk student. Most research support the definition of youth at risk as a student between aged 13 to18 years old who exhibits one or more of these criteria: a) Poor academic performance. b) Misbehaviour and discipline problems. c) Socioeconomic/family stressors and d) Negative attitudes toward school.

According to Dunn, 1987 (as cited in Redick, Sharon, Vail, 1991) Youth at risk are defined as children and adolescents who are not able to acquire and use the skills necessary to develop their potential and become productive members of society (p.12).Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay In educational literature, the word at-risk has been used to describe including disadvantaged, culturally deprived, low ability, dropout, low performing, not acquiring skills and discipline problem.

Cuban (1989) mentions that the educator defined the problem of low achievement among at-risk in two ways: students who perform poorly in school because of their own poor achievement and students do so because of inadequacies in their family background. In contrast, psychologists and counsellor often use the term in describing children and youth with potential of developing emotional and behavioural problems (as cited in Kimberly 2000).

Risk factors of at- risk behavior

Youth can be at-risk for a variety of reason. Youth are at- risk because of environment in which they live, grow and learn or because of their own behaviour or by other individual. There are a great number of factors that put youth at-risk for not succeeding educationally or in life. Most have been influenced by unpleasant circumstances, such as poverty, low self-esteem, drug or alcohol abuse, poor health or nutrition, poor academic performance, inadequate opportunities for success in school, loss of hope for the future, and the lack of life goals (Redick, Sharon, Vail, 1991).

Numerous studies have shown that many researchers replete on various factors that lead to at-risk behaviour. They frequently used the term of ‘risk factor’ in many published journals and books. Risk factors are defined as those conditions that are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcome (problem behaviour). According to Clark (1995) (as cited in Werner, 1990; Bogenschneider, Small & Riley, 1992) ‘risk factor are individual or environmental hazards that increase youngsters’ vulnerability to negative developmental outcomes’. Rutter, 1979 (as cited in Clark, 1995) said that ‘as the number of risk factors increase, the probability of problem behaviour increase’ (p.3). There are four risk factors that contribute to psychosocial problem among at-risk youth. The term psychosocial refers to the interplay between biological, physiological, emotional, cognitive, social, environmental and maturational factors.Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay


The risk factors consistently found across studies include low educational aspiration and low self-esteem ( ). Poor school motivation appears to be the single most important marker for identifying adolescents likely to be at high risk (Resnick and Burt, 1996). Adolescents who engage in delinquent behaviour typically have a poor school record (McCord, 1992). These adolescents are more likely to show poor school attendance and drop out of school without a high school diploma, which consequently decreases their chances for labour-market participation ( ). A low degree of commitment to education also appears to be related to drug use in adolescence ( ) and early sexual activity ( ).

It has been suggested that engaging in problem behaviour might be a way to cope with a low sense of self-worth, dissatisfaction and low confidence in own abilities (Jessor et al., 1995). Low self-esteem appears indeed to be a significant predictor of mental health problems (Baldwin et al., 1989) and externalizing problems such as drug use (Stacy, Sussman, Dent, Burton, and Flay, 1992).

family,Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

Scholars generally agree that much of children’s socialization takes place in the context of the family, for it is through the family that the developing child is afforded the opportunities and experiences necessary to acquire the fundamental skills, behaviours, values, and knowledge that enable him or her to engage successfully in social relationships (Maccoby, 1992).Numerous studies have demonstrated there a relationship between perceived family environment and youth’s psychological functions.

Rollins and Thomas review located additional evidence that adolescent self-esteem is related to family relationships, although most studies rely on the adolescents’ perceptions of these relationships.Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay Variables reported to be significantly correlated with the adolescent’s self-esteem include the individual’s “feelings toward his or her parents” (O’Donnell, 1976). Among many different aspects of family functioning, the evidence seems clearest in showing that a low level of parental support and involvement increases the possibility of problem behaviour (McCord, 1992).

Another aspect consistently found as important in predicting problem behaviour is the degree of structure or control provided by the parent (Maccoby, 1992). Adolescents who are exposed to disciplinary parenting are more likely to develop problem behaviour (Baldwin et al., 1989; Loeber, 1990; Patterson, Reid, and Dishion, 1992)


It has consistently been found as a potent predictor of problem behaviour is the exposure to friends who model deviant behaviours (i.e., involvement with a deviant peer group) (Dishion, Andrews, and Crosby, 1995; Patterson et al., 1992). Deviant peers provide opportunities to engage in problem behaviour, provide considerable social pressure and positive reinforcement for deviant behaviour, and supply the adolescent with attitudes, motivations, and rationalizations to support antisocial behaviour (Patterson et al., 1989).Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

Risk factors within peer relations are not only limited to the involvement with deviant peers. More generally, it appears that strong peer orientation and the unusually dominant role of peers in the lives of adolescents are associated with a more negative self-concept and problem behaviours such as substance use (Conger et al., 1992; Dekovic, Meeus, and Gerris, in press; Wills, Vaccaro, and McNamara, 1992).


Negative school experiences can also be a major contributor to antisocial behaviour for some young people. Poor student- teacher relationships and a lack of engagement, poor school organization, large class sizes, low student-teacher cooperation, poor rule reinforcement, inadequate behaviour management, school failure, and bullying have all been shown to contribute (National Crime Prevention, 1999; Wasserman et al., 2003). A negative school climate is another major contributor to marginalizing and alienating at-risk students (McCrystal, Higgins, & Percy, 2006).Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

One of my friends started doing drugs. He started out by smoking pot, but it got to a point where that wasn’t enough. He started doing pills, and even heroin. He started spending all his money on drugs and caring less and less about his friends, family, and appearance. He finally told his parents and got help and went to a rehab program. My friend was lucky that he was able to get off of the drugs, but it is not that way for everyone. Doing drugs is terrible and has many risks and if you don’t stop there will be consequences. By doing drugs there is a chance that you can lose all of your money. You start to only worry about the drugs and the high that you get so you only spend your money on drugs until there is no more money left. Once there is no more money to spend you will do anything to get the money to get high.Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay The addiction can get to the point that you are stealing money from friends, and family out of their personal belongings. It can get to the point where there is no other way of getting money and the addiction is so bad that you will start begging for money from anyone that will give it to you. Drugs can take over your mind and Make you forget the people that love you like your friends, and family. The drugs become overpowering, and all you think about and want to do with your time is drugs and nothing else. The addiction can be so bad that you begin to miss family and friend events such as; graduation parties, birthday parties, and family reunions just to do drugs. People that love you try to tell you what you are doing is terrible and ruining your life, but you don’t listen because all you want is that high from doing the drugs. Eventually, it gets to the point that there is nothing left to lose because you have lost everything. Healthy Risk-Taking Behaviors Essay

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