Adolescence is the transition period between childhood and adulthood. During this transition, adolescents develop their own sense of identity independent of their caregivers. Relationships with caregivers, teachers, and peers can have an impact on the types of behaviors in which an adolescent engages. In order to establish their sense of identity, adolescents often have to try out new roles and new experiences associated with more adult behaviors, which can sometimes translate into adolescent risk-taking. The personal fable and imaginary audience can contribute to the willingness to engage in risky behavior. A personal fable is when an individual believes he/she is the only one experiencing a feeling; such as, his/her parents do not understand what they are going through. Adolescents preoccupied in their peer groups sometimes develop imaginary audiences because they believe others are constantly judging them. Culture and gender also influence how the adolescent perceives risk-taking behavior. While risk-taking behavior is predominantly perceived as unwanted dangerous behavior, it is not necessarily so. Sexual expression among adolescents need not result in pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, just as concerns with physical appearance do not always lead to eating disorders or depression.
For this Discussion, you will examine risk-taking behaviors by adolescents.
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