Adolescent Risk Behavior: Differentiating Reasoned And Reactive Risk-taking

Julie Maslowsky, Olusegun Owotomo, Edward D. Huntley, Daniel Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although explanatory models of adolescent risk behavior have predominantly focused on adolescents’ limited ability to self-regulate impulsive and/or reward-driven behavior (reactive risk behavior), recent arguments suggest that a significant proportion of adolescent risk behavior may actually be strategic and planned in advance (reasoned risk behavior). The present study evaluates hypothesized predictors of reasoned versus reactive risk behavior using self-reported and neurocognitive task data from a large, diverse adolescent sample (N = 1266 participants; N = 3894 risk behaviors). Participants’ mean age was 16.5 years (SD = 1.1); 56.9% were female, 61.9% White, 17.1% Black, 7.0% Hispanic, and 14.1% other race/ethnicity; 40% were in 10th grade, 60% in 12th grade. As hypothesized, reasoned risk behavior (compared to reactive risk behavior) was associated with higher levels of sensation seeking, better working memory, greater future orientation, and perceiving risk behavior to be more beneficial than risky. These results support the distinction between reasoned and reactive risk behavior as meaningful subtypes of adolescent risk behavior and challenge prevailing frameworks that attribute adolescent risk behavior primarily to poor response inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

Fingerprint

Adolescent Behavior
Risk-Taking
risk behavior
adolescent
school grade
future orientation
Aptitude
Reward
Short-Term Memory
Hispanic Americans
reward
ethnicity

Keywords

  • Future orientation
  • Risk behavior
  • Risk/benefit appraisal
  • Sensation seeking
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Adolescent Risk Behavior : Differentiating Reasoned And Reactive Risk-taking. / Maslowsky, Julie; Owotomo, Olusegun; Huntley, Edward D.; Keating, Daniel.

In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 48, No. 2, 15.02.2019, p. 243-255.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Maslowsky, Julie ; Owotomo, Olusegun ; Huntley, Edward D. ; Keating, Daniel. / Adolescent Risk Behavior : Differentiating Reasoned And Reactive Risk-taking. In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2019 ; Vol. 48, No. 2. pp. 243-255.
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