Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What predicts risky behaviour in adolescence

Health-risk behaviours like substance use (alcohol, tobacco and drugs) and risky sexual behaviour become more common in adolescence. Children with behaviour problems are thought to be more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour but it is unclear which types of behaviour problems lead to risky behaviour. A Dutch study of 309 children which followed them from the ages of 4-5 to 18 found that physical aggression was the most important factor in predicting risky behaviour. 'Status violations' (e.g. running away from home and truancy) predicted an increased risk of smoking and soft drug use while 'property violations' also predicted an increased likelihood of risky behaviour.

Timmermans, Maartje, Lier, Pol A.C. van and Koot, Hans M. - Which forms of child/adolescent externalizing behaviors account for late adolescent risky sexual behavior and substance use?
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry April 2008, 49(4), 386-394

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