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Teenagers and Risk-Taking

Teenagers and Risk-Taking

Aspects characterizing adolescence include risk-taking and experimentation (Sanci et al., 2018). A risk is a choice with a varying probability of a good and bad result. Risks are characterized as positive or negative depending on the benefit to the teenager’s well-being, the extent of possible costs, and whether it is a socially acceptable act. Accordingly, negative risks are socially unacceptable with severe consequences. Conversely, positive risks are socially acceptable and are not likely to result in an undesirable impact. Although positive and risk-taking are distinct, they are thought to be influenced by similar underlying characteristics. Previous research studies have indicated that there is an association between the two. For instance, research has shown that sporting and art performing are linked to substance use and delinquency. Therefore, positive and negative risk-taking occurs dependently (Duell & Steinberg, 2020). Rather, a teenager highly susceptible to risk-taking is equally vulnerable to partake in either positive or negative risks.

The three features or quotes important for expounding on the nature of positive and negative risks and understanding their pros and cons include; benefit teenager’s well-being, the severity of potential risks, and socially acceptable. Firstly, positive risk-taking, unlike negative risk-taking, contributes to the well-being of the adolescent. The teenager gains something constructive from taking the risk. For instance, a teenager who takes a complex course unit may fail and get teased by his peers. Despite this potential cost, the teenager may benefit from his action, for example, by attaining new skills or becoming competitive to be admitted to college. Similarly, challenging oneself is developmentally constructive and encourages self-growth (Duell & Steinberg, 2018).

Secondly, positive risks carry mild severity of potential outcomes, while negative risks carry high severity of potential outcomes. Subsequently, outcomes arising from positive risks do not threaten the teenager’s health, well-being, or safety (Galvan et al., 2007). For instance, distress from being selected for the sports team does not threaten the adolescent’s life or health. On the other hand, overdosing on drugs like heroin and cocaine or unsafe driving (“Risks and Protective Factors |”, 2022) poses direct and long-term effects on adolescents’ lives (Duell & Steinberg, 2018).

Thirdly, positive risks are socially acceptable and do not violate the legally enacted laws. In positive risk-taking, social acceptability refers to considering the views of adults rather than those of other teenagers (even though the positive risk-taking by the adolescent will be supported by his peers). Accordingly, an adolescent will not engage in risky behavior if the action is considered civil disobedience. Similarly, the adolescent will participate in a risky act if the behavior is considered civic engagement. For instance, making new friends is a positive risk because it is lawfully permitted and socially acceptable and is considered civic engagement by both adults and teenage peers (Duell & Steinberg, 2018).


In summary, risk-taking involves making a choice with varying possibilities of good and bad consequences. Essentially, it is a behavior that involves the possibility of a beneficial outcome or a negative outcome (Reniers et al., 2016). Risk-taking is characterized as positive and negative risk-taking. Accordingly, positive risks are good as they benefit the adolescent’s well-being, create mild and unharmful outcomes, and are legal and socially acceptable. On the other hand, negative risks lead to adverse effects as they threaten adolescents’ health and well-being. Finally, adolescents highly susceptible to risk-taking are equally vulnerable to either taking positive or negative risks.


Duell, N., & Steinberg, L. (2018). Positive Risk Taking in Adolescence. Child Development Perspectives13(1), 48-52.

Duell, N., & Steinberg, L. (2020). Differential Correlates of Positive and Negative Risk Taking in Adolescence. Journal Of Youth And Adolescence49(6), 1162-1178.

Galvan, A., Hare, T., Voss, H., Glover, G., & Casey, B. (2007). Risk-taking and the adolescent brain: who is at risk? Developmental Science10(2), F8-F14.

Reniers, R., Murphy, L., Lin, A., Bartolomé, S., & Wood, S. (2016). Risk Perception and Risk-Taking Behaviour during Adolescence: The Influence of Personality and Gender. PLOS ONE11(4), e0153842.

Risks and Protective Factors | (2022). Retrieved 16 March 2022, from

Sanci, L., Webb, M., & Hocking, J. (2018). Risk-taking behaviour in adolescents. Australian Journal Of General Practice47(12), 829-834.


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Contrast the pros and cons of both positive and negative risk-taking.

Teenagers and Risk-Taking

Teenagers and Risk-Taking

Include 3 quotes with internal citations and defend the quotes. Show a connection to the quote and main idea. Write an interlude statement to connect the 2 quotes and the main idea. Write an introduction sentence to quote. 5 paragraphs

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