Adolescents or Children at Risk Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3813 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children


"Some adolescents are troubled and some get into trouble.

But the great majority (almost nine out of ten) do not

The bottom line is that good kids don't suddenly go bad in adolescence" - Laurence Steinberg and Ann Levine (20th century)

(Steinberg and Levine, as cited in Columbia World of Quotations, 1996).

Contemporary Issues and Concerns

Although adolescents may be "at risk" for a number of problems today, according to Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology, and Ann Levine (Columbia World of Quotations, 1996), a U.S. author, most adolescents, in fact, nine out of ten, do not regulalry get into trouble. What constitutes a concern, albeit, is the one in ten "at risk" adolescent who may regularly subscribe to a number of the myriad of problems confronting today's youth, as these negative behaviors frequently reach out to impact others in society. In regard to this concern, this paper examines a number of components relating to four contemporary issues/concerns/problems that frequently co-occur.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Term Paper on Adolescents or Children at Risk Assignment

Considerations addressed during this paper include identifying the adolescent "at risk," as well as the risk(s); the causes of the risk(s), and some specific actions that may be done to counter and/or reduce the risk(s). In the article, "Youth risk behaviors down over past 16 years," Mary Ellen Schneider, (2008), purports that the 2007 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey statistics revealed that compared with their counterparts in the early 1990s, fewer high school students were engaging in particular high-risk health behaviors. Large numbers of adolescents, nevertheless, not only still take risks with their health, they continue to attempt suicide, use cigarettes, alcohol and/or other drugs, carry a weapon, and engage in sexual intercourse with numerous persons (Schneider, 2008). Anthony Biglan, et al. (2005) purport in their book, Helping adolescents at risk: Prevention of multiple problem behaviors, that repeated studies concur that similar risk factors contribute to a variety of negative youth behaviors. Biglan, et al. assert: "Preventive and intervention programs focusing on these particular risk will be more useful and cost-affective then those focusing on risk factors unique to one problem or another" (p. 59). Multiple problem behaviors, according to Biglan, et al. include:

1. Severe antisocial behavior,

2. alcohol and/or drug misuse,

3. tobacco smoking/use, and

4. perilous sexual behavior (Biglan, et al., 2005, p. 59).

Adolescents at Risk

In the journal article, "Understanding adolescent substance abuse: Prevalence, risk factors, and clinical implications," J.J. Burrow-Sanchez (2006) stresses that during adolescence, challenges young people routinely face include increased independence, strong peer / group relationships, concerns regarding future educational and career plans. D. L, Thatcher and D. Clark (2008) note in "Adolescents at risk for substance use disorders: Role of psychological dysregulation, endophenotypes, and environmental influences," that during adolescence, the developmental period when the greatest risk(s) occur for the onset of problematic behaviors, some young people routinely experiment with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. Although some consider experimentation with alcohol "normal" during adolescence, those adolescents who binge drink or develop alcohol use disorders generally also abuse other drugs, particularly cigarettes and marijuana. Thatcher and Clark, as Biglan, et al. (2005) assert that substance abuse behaviors are not only multifaceted, but complex; with a multiplicity of genetic and environmental liabilities influencing them.

In their article, "A service-learning model for at-risk adolescents," Judith A. Nelson and Daniel Eckstein (2008) note that the U.S. Department of Education reports the number of students suspended and expelled from schools has almost doubled during the past 30 years. During their study, Nelson and Eckstein depict a service-learning model, as they integrate the connection between "youth voice,' service-learning programs, and constructing a 'possibility' narrative of youth who are at-risk" (¶ 4). Reasons for the increase in the at risk behavior of students' suspensions and expelsions appear to relate to "zero tolerance" policies, along with a number of other punitive disciplinary policies.

Social Justice researchers contend that a correlation exists between Discipline Alternative Education Programs (DAEP) placement and prison; describing this as the school-to-prison pipeline. The inability of urban schools to fill the needs of poor, minority, and at-risk students, according to a number of researchers, has triggered the increase in placements in alternative schools. Frequently, adolescents diagnosed with "one or several of the following concerns: low academic achievement, learning disabilities, attention deficit with hyperactivity, communication disorders, sensory impairment, and/or chronic truancy" (Nelson & Eckstein, 2008, Discipline Alternative Education Programs section, (¶ 2), start to perceive themselves as deficient. The adults who know these adolescents too often may also adopt this same mind-set, constructing a deficit view of adolescents. In turn, this negative perception may become the norm when describing these at risks adolescents.

The Risk(s)

S. Yu, et al. (2006) report in "Youth and parental perceptions of parental monitoring and parent-adolescent communication, youth depression, and youth risk behaviors," that the practice by adolescents of increasingly participating in risk-taking behaviors constitutes a hearty characteristic of adolescence. Even so, the practice of some particular subgroups who engage in a high incidences of self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners, and violent behaviors constitutes one adolescent population subset "at risk" for self-destructive behavior.

During the time of changes that occur during adolenscense, some adolescents may experiement with alcohol, marijuana, meth and other substances, as they subsequently determine whether to use or misuse substances. Particular risk factors may influence the adolescent's decisions, research reveals. A risk factor, Burrow-Sanchez (2006) explains generally denotes a factor that increases the liklihood an individul will abuse drugs, while a protective factor consists of factors that protect and/or decrease the probability a person will abuse substances. Two categories of risk factors for adolescents exist, according to Burrow-Sanchez, which include:

1. Contextual factors include components such as drug laws, drug availability, lowering of legal drinking ages, as well as decreased alcohol taxation of alcohol; risk factors for the potential use by adolescents.

2. Individual factors may include the adolescent's temperament, his/her family practices, stressors and/or problems he/she may be experiencing, suffering from coexisting mental health diagnosis, problems related to school, negative peer influences, and early initiation into using drugs (Burrow-Sanchez, 2006).

Risk factors relating to adolescent AOD use and substance use disorders (SUDS), Thatcher and Clark (2008) assert, may be characterized as heritable, environmental, and phenotypic factors. Thatcher and Clark explain:

Heritable risk factors are reflected in familial patterns of SUDS and divided in other psychiatric disorders. Environmental risk factors include family-related characteristics, such as family functioning, parenting practices, and child maltreatment, as well as other contextual factors, such as peer influences, substance availability, and consumption opportunities. (Thatcher & Clark, 2008, ¶ 3)

Causes of the Risk(s)

R. Bartlett, D. Holditch-Davis, and M. Belyea (2007) contend in "Problem behaviors in adolescents," that problem behaviors adolescents may be at risk for may include serious consequences not only for the adolescents, but also for their friends and family members, but also for their schools, and society. A number of problem behaviors adolescents may be at risk for, such as engaging in sex with multiple partners, may result in problems for the individual. Other problem actions, however, such as using or stealing or weapons, may contribute problems others must contend with, and potentially lead to the adolescent's involvement with the legal system.

During adolescence, according to E. Reitz, M. Dekovic, and A. Meijer (2005), more than half of children (60%) become involved in some kind of problem behavior during their adolescence as early adolescence proves to be a particularly vulnerable period in their lives. Adolescense involves multiple changes in the young person's life that simultaneously occurs inside and outside of him/her. Along with pubertal development, changes may include cognitive changes; school transition, etc. An increase in the prevalence of various clinical disorders and behavior problems occur during and following puberty, Reitz, Dekovic, and Meijer purport in their study, "The structure and stability of externalizing and internalizing problem behavior during early adolescence" (Reitz, Dekovic, & Meijer, ¶ 1).

Reitz, Dekovic, and Meijer (2005) drew the sample for their study from three secondary schools located in the Netherlands. At the initial noted time for the inception of this particular study, 650 adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, from the 8th grade, completed a battery of questionnaires during regular school hours. Following a 1-year interval, Reitz, Dekovic, and Meijer retested the same adolescents. During this time, the number of participants had deopped to a total of 563 adolescents. Reitz, Dekovic, and Meijer relate the following:

There has been much debate about whether different problem behaviors during adolescence reflect a single underlying dimension or whether they are better conceived as multiple phenomena (e.g., Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Donovan et al., 1988; Donovan and Jessor, 1985; Gillmore et al., 1991). Use of different instruments and various age groups makes it hard to compare the outcomes of studies that examined the structure of problem behavior. Also, the majority of the results apply to the structure of criminal, delinquent, or otherwise overtly disturbing problem behavior including antisocial behavior, substance use, and precocious sexual behavior. However, these concern only 1… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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