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Keeping friends safe: a prospective study examining early adolescent's confidence and support networks

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Abstract:

There is a continued need to consider ways to prevent early adolescent engagement in a variety of harmful risk-taking behaviours for example, violence, road-related risks and alcohol use. The current prospective study examined adolescents’ reports of intervening to try and stop friends’ engagement in such behaviours among 207 early adolescents (mean age = 13.51 years, 50.1% females). Findings showed that intervening behaviour after three months was predicted by the confidence to intervene which in turn was predicted by student and teacher support although not parental support. The findings suggest that the benefits of positive relationship experiences might extend to the safety of early adolescent friendship groups particularly through the development of confidence to try and stop friends’ risky and dangerous behaviours. Findings from the study support the important role of the school in creating a culture of positive adolescent behaviour whereby young people take social responsibility.

Keywords: adolescent; intervening behaviour; risk-taking; social support

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2011.643102

Affiliations: Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety,Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane,Queensland, Australia

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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