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March 1998

"Bet You I Will!": Risk or Experimental Behavior During Adolescence?

Author Affiliations

From the Unité d'Évaluation de Programmes de Prévention, Institut de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Lausanne, Switzerland (Drs Michaud and Ferron); and the Adolescent Health Program, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis (Dr Blum).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(3):224-226. doi:10.1001/archpedi.152.3.224

A large and growing body of literature has focused on the relationship between the health of adolescents and the notion of risk. Various expressions such as "psychosocial risk," "risk taking," and "problem behavior" have been used to delineate this relationship.1-4 Interest in risk behavior stems from evidence that most deaths and a substantial amount of adolescent morbidity are related to behavioral and psychosocial characteristics more than to acquired illness or inherited traits. Traffic injuries, suicide, and interpersonal violence are the leading causes of death among adolescents in the United States as well as in many European countries.5,6