Social support as a factor inhibiting teenage risk-taking: views of students, parents and professionals
Abbott-Chapman, JA and Denholm, CJ and Wyld, C, Social support as a factor inhibiting teenage risk-taking: views of students, parents and professionals, Journal of Youth Studies, 11, (6) pp. 611-627. ISSN 1367-6261 (2008) [Refereed Article]
A large-scale study conducted in Tasmania, Australia, of teenage risk-taking across 26 potentially harmful risk activities has examined a range of factors that encourage or inhibit risk-taking. Among these factors, the degree of social and professional support the teenage students say they would access for personal, study or health problems has been examined and correlated with the respondents' risk-taking profiles. Findings reveal that the wider the range of social support, including parents, family and friends, the less likely are teenagers to participate in risk-taking activities, as measured by the Personal Risk Score Category Index developed for the research. Respondents who relied only on friends' support or had no-one to access for support had higher risk-taking profiles. Comparative analysis of parents' and pre-service professionals' expectations differed from those of the students in overestimating the extent to which students would access professionals for advice and help with personal, study and health problems, and their degree of trust in professional help. Parents also overestimated the extent to which the students would rely on their parents for support and advice compared with the students' views. The implications of this intergenerational mismatch for risk prevention and intervention programmes are discussed.