Risk-Taking Behavior In Adolescents

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During the adolescent years, teenagers are faced with decisions that could potentially lead them into uncharted territory or pull them out of their comfort zone. Risky behavior during the adolescent years can at times be beneficial. Adolescents can veer from their comfort zone to learn a new sport, play a new instrument, or assume a leadership position in an organization (Gengler, 2011). However, many times risk-taking behaviors such as, speeding, tailgating, DUI’s, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, unsafe sex, and drug abuse, can result in unfortunate outcomes which can have detrimental effects on their physical, mental, or mental well-being (Santrock, 2005, p.66-68). In fact, “the three leading causes …show more content…
The article by Music (2013) reported that peers had a greater influence on other teens when there was a reduction of parental supervision. Teen sensitivity to peer pressure can be “compromised by a less-than-pristine childhood environment (Beckman, 2004, p. 599). Family predictors that can increase the occurrence of risky behavior include, “disturbed family relationships, poor or lack of parent-child communication, poor parental involvement in the education of the child, [and] parental antisocial behavior” (Music, 2013, p.179). In addition, paternal alcoholism, as well as parental absence, judgment of family members, and parental promiscuous behavior can promote adolescent risk-taking behavior (Music, 2013). There appears to be a detrimental interactive pattern in which the parent places demands upon the child who in turn responds with aversive behavior, arguing or yelling. When the parent attempts to suppress the situation, the child refuses to calm down or continues to behave aversively. It is believed that this type of constant conflictual communication in families is basically teaching early delinquent behavior (Music, …show more content…
For adolescents, the dopaminergic system, or “socio emotional system” (Sunstein, 2008, p. 146), which includes the amygdala, the medial prefrontal cortex, and other areas associated with social processing, judgments of attractiveness, and relevant stimuli, develops faster than the cognitive control system which is responsible for self-regulation. (Sunstein, 2008). The frontal lobe, which is responsible for impulse control from other parts of the brain, does not begin to mature until around the age of seventeen. Many researchers believe that it does not reach full maturity until the age of twenty or even twenty-five. The amygdala, which processes emotions, results in one having less control over emotions and being acutely aware of them (Beckman, 2004). Even “neuroimaging data indicate that the adolescent brain is different” (Ash, 2012, p.

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