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Do risks matter? Variable and person-centered approaches to adolescents' problem behavior

Modecki, K.L. (2016) Do risks matter? Variable and person-centered approaches to adolescents' problem behavior. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 42 . pp. 8-20.

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Two limitations in research examining adolescents' risk cognitions have been the absence of developmental age group comparisons on a breadth of cognitions and the need to better characterize how cognitions influence behavior. To address these limitations, this study compared adolescent (n = 205; 52% female) and young adult (n = 274; 58% female) risk cognitions (risk probability, risk identification, risk tolerance, risk salience, and risk preference) and used variable- and person-centered approaches to explore how cognitions affect problem behavior. Adolescents generally reported lower risk-related cognitions than young adults. Further, risk probability, the cognition typically assessed in research, did not exert an independent effect on behavior. Adolescents and young adults were characterized by two similar cognition profiles, but only adolescents were characterized by a third, maladaptive profile, Low Identification/High Preference, reflecting low risk identification and risk salience and high risk preference. Interventions should arguably target these three cognitions within at-risk youth.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2015 The Author.
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