Adolescent Risk Behaviours: Why Teens Experiment and Strategies to Keep them Safe

Adolescent Risk Book CoverYale University Press; 2006; 292 pages

This book focuses on the crucial role that relationships play in the lives of teenagers. The authors particularly examine the ways that healthy relationships can help teens avoid such common risk behaviours as substance abuse, dating violence, sexual assault, and unsafe sexual practices. Addressing the current lack of effective prevention programs for teens, the authors present new strategies for encouraging health choices. This book first traces differences between the “rules of relating” for boys and girls and discusses typical and atypical patterns of experimentation in teens. The authors identify the common link among risk behaviours: the relationship connection. In the second part of the book, they examine the principles of successful programs used by schools and communities to cultivate healthy adolescent development. An illuminating conclusion describes the key ingredients for engaging adolescents, their parents, teachers, and communities in the effort to promote healthy, non-violent relationships among teens.


“From the first sentence to the last, this book demonstrates a blend of intellect and compassion. It is well grounded, with one foot in the world of rigorous research guided by developmental theory, and the other in a keen appreciation for the realities of prevention and intervention programming with adolescents and families.”

– James Garbarino, PhD, author of Lost Boys and See Jane Hit

“An important work focusing on how we might more practically and effectively promote well-being among adolescents.”

– Patrick H. Tolan, Institute of Juvenile Research, Chicago, IL

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