The Science of Adolescent Risk-Taking - Workshop Summary


Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

Adolescence is a time when youth make decisions, good and bad, that have consequences for the rest of their lives. Some of these decisions—about their sexual behavior, driving, substance use, or criminal activity—put adolescents at risk for injury, lifelong health problems, or death. Researchers, health care practitioners, and others who work with adolescents understand what makes adolescents take risks and can use this knowledge to promote healthy decisions and prevent risky behavior.

The IOM held three public workshops between 2008 and 2009 to provide a venue for researchers, health care providers, and community leaders to discuss strategies to improve adolescent health. Participants identified ways in which findings can be shared across disciplines to improve understanding of adolescents’ risky behavior. They also discussed how to improve prevention and intervention strategies and noted areas in which further research is needed. This report summarizes the workshops.