Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fearing death and taking risks in teenagers

A surprisingly large number of children believe that they will die young and those that do are much more likely to engage in risky behaviour. Researchers at the University of Minnesota interviewed 20,562 children in grades 7-12 in 1995,1996 and 2001-2. In 1995 14.7% of the participants thought that they had no more than a 50:50 chance of living past 35. Of those who believed they would die young 43.7% still held that view a year later and 17.2% still thought it in 2001-2. Illegal drug use, attempted suicide, getting hurt in fights, being arrested by the police, unsafe sexual activity and a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS were all linked with a perceived likelihood of earlier death.

You can find out more about this research at


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