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Evaluating the Role of “Nothing to Lose” Attitudes on Risky Behavior in Adolescence

Citation

Harris, Kathleen Mullan; Duncan, Greg J.; & Boisjoly, Johanne (2002). Evaluating the Role of "Nothing to Lose" Attitudes on Risky Behavior in Adolescence. Social Forces, 80(3), 1005-39.

Abstract

This article examines the extent to which adolescents' expectations about their future in terms of health and education affect their risk-taking behavior. With data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Healthy we test the theory that a “nothing to lose” attitude about the future predicts greater involvement in risky behaviors involving early sexual intercourse, selling drugs, and weapon use. We examine the effects of both individual- and school-level conditions. Results provide mixed support for our “nothing to lose” hypothesis. We do find noteworthy school-level effects of “school climate,” including aggregate expectations, mental health, and the prevalence of single-mother families, that influence adolescent risk-taking behavior more than school measures of SES.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2002.0008

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Forces

Author(s)

Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Duncan, Greg J.
Boisjoly, Johanne

Year Published

2002

Volume Number

80

Issue Number

3

Pages

1005-39

Reference ID

1760