Adolescent Risk Taking Michael Denver

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Nursing 203March 17, 2008This paper will discuss several areas of adolescent risk taking behaviour and environmental factors that increase the prevalence of risk taking. It will also include some current statistics related to adolescent risky behaviour.Risk taking is inherently linked with teenage behaviour. Risky behaviour is common for this age group, because the adolescent is striving to develop autonomy from authority figures and to develop significant relationships with peers (American Nurses Association, 2003, p. 10). The types of risk taking behaviour that adolescents participate in include: drug and alcohol use, tobacco use, motor vehicle injuries, self-inflicted injuries, risky sexual activities and homelessness. There is a relatively high prevalence of most of these manifestations in Canada warranting a thorough study of this type of behaviour in adolescents. For example, the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) found that in 2002, girls between the grades of 6 and 10 increased their weekly alcohol consumption from 3% to 23% and boys in the same grades increased their weekly use from 6% to 34% [Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), 2005].

Regarding substance abuse, the CCHS found that 31% of males and females aged 12 to 17, claimed to have tried marijuana in 2000-2001; 13% had tried other illicit drugs (such as, cocaine or crack)" (CIHI, 2005). In the U.S.A., illegal drug use among adolescents more than doubled from 5.3% to 11.4% from 1992 to 1997 (Oman & al., 2005, p.1425). A 2005 study conducted in Thunder Bay by the Superior Points Harm Reduction Program (SPHRP) found that of the street-involved or at-risk youth surveyed, aged 24 and under, over 98% of them had used drugs over the previous 12 months (DeProphetis et al., 2006, p. 44). Of that same group, over 30% were injection drug users and over 38% of those who...