Adolescence, high risk behaviours, brain development and …

A range of “high risk behaviours” become relatively common in adolescence  …

Christina Moutsiana and others, in their 2013 paper, “Human development of the ability to learn from bad news”, tested whether the ability to alter beliefs, in response to good and bad news, develops differently with age. They stated that, “… vast resources have been dedicated to educating adolescents about the consequences of their risky behavior. Our results show that this approach may be inherently limited because the ability to appropriately adjust beliefs about vulnerability in response to undesirable information develops disproportionally late between late childhood and adulthood. However, reframing the information to highlight positive outcomes of desired behaviors (e.g., the positive effect of reduced alcohol consumption on sports performance), rather than dangers of undesired ones, may have a larger impact”. (Human development of the ability to learn from bad news. PNAS, Vol. 110 no. 41: 16396–16401).

In their 2009 guide, “The Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescence” (p.24), Clea McNeely and Jayne Blanchard wrote, “Research is starting to discover that adolescents judge the benefits of partaking in risky behaviors differently than adults do, and this difference in judgment may have a biological basis in the brain” .

Alexander Persoskie reported that “… “Invulnerable” teens—those who gave risk estimates of 0%—accounted for a considerable portion of those who ultimately experienced each outcome.” For example, 53% of those who became pregnant and 63% of the teens who were not enrolled in school had, one year earlier, indicated a 0% chance of these events happening. (How well can adolescents really judge risk? Simple, self reported risk factors out-predict teens’ self estimates of personal risk. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 8, no. 1, January 2013, pp. 1-6).

In The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction article some connections are made between brain function, development, and behavior.

Thanks to Peter Baggetta for his Prezi - Adolescent Brain and Risk Taking



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"As a Deputy Head in a large secondary school I was involved in taking part in a city wide health and wellbeing survey over a period of six years. Completing the survey every two years grew in importance year on year, with the final cycle having a major impact on our SDP, PHSE curriculum, Ofsted outcomes and governor understanding.
Over the six year period we moved from a small sample in two tutor groups filling in a paper survey to two year groups completing an online survey. The reports produced give graphical analysis of a wide range of issues. As a result of the survey we increased the number of PSHE workshop days for students to address issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol awareness, anti-bullying workshops. The surveys helped Governors make a positive informed decision to allow Brook Advisory Clinic nurses on site to support students.
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...Many thanks for all your work with this year’s survey. It’s already proving to be invaluable especially against the severe cuts in services that are looming.

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