There is 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. Adolescence are mainly depends on their friends for decision making, which could leads to faulty decision. Main risk factors are familial, social and individual.
1. Familial Risk Factors: It includes childhood maltreatment (abuse and neglect), parental substance abuse, parent-child relationship, and child perception on 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 on 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. They associate with substance abuse and careless driving for popularity. In order to gain social standing, youngsters are motivated to use the substance. 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 substance. Gangs are encouraging them to take a greater risk of unsafe sex and reckless driving.
3. Individual Risk Factors: two commonly discussed 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 behavior.