Combining measures of risk perceptions and risk activities: The development of the RAPRA and PRISC indices
Abbott-Chapman, JA and Denholm, CJ and Wyld, C, Combining measures of risk perceptions and risk activities: The development of the RAPRA and PRISC indices, Risk Analysis, 28, (1) pp. 69-79. ISSN 0272-4332 (2008) [Refereed Article]
The influence of risk perceptions on risk activities of teenagers is well known, but the development of indices, which combine measures of perception as well as behavioral outcomes, has proved problematical. This article discusses the ways in which this methodological problem was tackled within a five-year, multiphase, multimethod study of factors affecting adolescent risk-taking in Tasmania, Australia, which included an intergenerational comparison of adolescents and parents. The development of the Risk Activity by Personal Risk Assessment (RAPRA) Index combines measures of perceived riskiness of 26 activities identified by young people as involving varying degrees of risk, with the degree of participation by each respondent, through a rectangular model of weights. The Personal Risk Score Category (PRISC) Index summarizes and categorizes an individual's risk-taking profile relative to the group's risk values and risk hierarchy established by the RAPRA Index. The article discusses ways in which technical problems involved in combining measures of risk perceptions and risk activities were addressed during index construction, compared with examples in the literature. Some key findings from analysis of two student and parent samples are presented as exemplars of the methods used and the results produced. Findings demonstrate the widespread nature of risk-taking among teenagers, and the similarity of levels of risk-taking between teenager and parental generations. The indices allow for detailed comparison of particular risk-taking activities and reveal differences among teenagers now compared with parents when they were teenagers, and illustrate the dynamic cultural context of risk-taking perceptions and values.
Indices • methodology • perceptions • risk-taking • youth