A number of various factors affecting
the risk-taking behaviors in adolescents. Adolescents and young adults take
more risks than any other age groups (Steinberg, 2008). Studies show that these
groups are really aware of risk-taking. Most developmental changes occurring in
this time especially hormone and brain changes. This is a period of stress and excitement.
More highlighted risk-taking behaviors are alcohol and tobacco use, dangerous
driving, criminal activities, and unsafe sex. Adolescences are mainly depended
on their friends for decision making, which could lead to a faulty decision.
Main risk factors are familial, social and individual.
1. Familial Risk Factors: It
includes childhood maltreatment (abuse and neglect), family history on substance
abuse, parent-child relationship, and fear about parent approval of their
substance use. It causes physical and emotional distress to them. This
maltreatment, linked to increased risk for adolescent substance use. (a) Physical
and Sexual abuse: there is a significant relationship between physical and
sexual abuse and adolescent use of drugs and alcohol. Posttraumatic stress
disorder also associated with childhood abuse. These are giving more stress to
the brain and leads to risky behaviors. (b)Emotional abuse and Neglect:
witnessing violence can increase the use of substance use disorder. It affects
the brain development in various ways and has long-term side effects.
2. Social Risk Factors: It includes
mainly peer pressure, gangs, bullying, and popularity. (a) Deviant Peer relationships:
The influence of peer is very crucial in the adolescent period. Peer relationship
encourages them to use substance for social standing and do careless driving for popularity. A negative
parent-child relationship also leads them to join the bad peer group. They are
more encountered to take risky behaviors with their peers than when they alone.
(b) Popularity: adolescents believe that their popularity in the peer group
based on risk-taking activities. There is also a correlation between self-
identification and substance abuse. An adolescent who wants to be a leader they
more inclined to smoke cigarettes, and who wants to join the group use more
alcohol. Youngsters with their peer group they want to spend more time on the
road especially at night time and which leads to more accidents. (c) Bullying: whoever
is involved in bullying have increased the risk of mental health disorder and
psychological problems than those who have not participate or victim in
bullying. (d) Gang Affiliation: more prompt to do criminal activities. Some
religious and cultural practices also motivate the youngsters to use the
substance. Gangs are encouraging them to take a greater risk
of unsafe sex and reckless driving.
3. Individual Risk Factors: Two common individual
risk factors are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and
depression. Depression linked to genetics and also results from stress.
To conclude, adult risky behaviors
and risk factors are interrelated. Brain development, hormone changes,
personality, and cultural norms also play a role in determining adolescence risk-taking