Adolescents and Risk
Making Sense of Adolescent Psychology
by Patrick B. Johnson and Micheline S. Malow-Iroff
March 2008, 160pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33687-4
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-0-313-06354-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This work informs parents, teachers, and adolescents about the types of risks adolescents frequently take, why they do so, and what can be done to prevent or intervene in such activities.

Substance abuse, gambling, sexual promiscuity, violence, mental health problems, suicide: all are risky and dangerous consequences of adolescent instability. Through the implementation of psychological research and basic theories, Johnson and Malow-Iroff expertly assess each specific risk behavior as it correlates with demographics, socio-economic statuses, and cultural factors surrounding today’s youth. In addition, this book provides resources for handling harmful situations facing adolescents, offering practical and straightforward methods to aid one in negotiating positive paths for those in distress. Parents, educators, and adolescents alike will only benefit from knowing the causes of adolescent risk-taking and the ways of preventing such behavior.

Each chapter is devoted to a specific risk that many adolescents take throughout their teenage years. These include: drug abuse, gambling, sex, violence, and suicide. Johnson and Malow-Iroff discuss the mental health problems that lead to dangerous activities. Each topic explains the causes that lead to these risky behaviors, ways to prevent them, and advice that will be useful to parents and educators in addressing these issues.

Reviews

"Johnson and Malow-Iroff present a thoughtful analysis of the most pressing problems apparent in adolescents today. The authors explain how an adolescent might perceive the world and how those perceptions might lead to risky behaviors involving sex, alcohol, and other drugs or become troubled or dark enough to lead to thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. Johnson and Malow-Iroff do not argue that all, or even many, adolescents contemplate or attempt suicide, but the risk is real and the authors explore it and other behaviors with compassion and honesty. The chapter on adolescent sex, for example, discusses statistics on sexual activity, condom usage, and the effectiveness of various teenage pregnancy prevention programs, and provides additional resources for information on this important issue. This book will be especially valuable for individuals (teachers, coaches, counselors) working with this population and for parents struggling to understand problems their adolescent might be confronting. It is not for those who think looking the other way is the solution. Highly recommended. Graduate students, professionals, general readers."—Choice, November 1, 2008

"Johnson and Malow-Iroff assess each risk behavior as it correlates with demographics, socio-economic statuses, and cultural factors surrounding today's youth. In addition, this book provides resources for handling harmful situations facing adolescents, offering practical and straightforward methods to aid one in negotiating positive paths for those in distress. . . For each topic, the authors explain the causes of the risky behavior and ways to prevent it, and offer advice that will be useful to parents and educators in addressing these issues."—Family Therapy, November 23, 2009

"Adolescents and Risk: Making Sense of Adolescent Psychology is a valuable source of information for policy makers, researchers, and clinicians, as well as a practical survival guide for parents/teachers/adolescents traversing the inevitable stresses and strains that come with adolescence."—Lewis A. Opler, MD, PhD., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

"As I read Adolescents and Risk: Making Sense of Adolescent Psychology I found myself thinking about it from the perspective of a parent, clinical psychologist and researcher. This book can be useful and stimulating to all three groups because of what and how it presents theory and research findings about adolescent risk-taking. Most important, it presents information from studies that are phenomenological and illustrate how intentions and will are experienced. I think this is important because too often we read about risk-taking in the context of executive processes but not the experience of young decision makers. As to its method of presentation, it emphasizes developmental processes that can be verbally engaged and stimulated according to effective developmentally-sensitive interventions. Even my seventeen year old daughter found it stimulating."—Lawrence S. Gaines, Ph.D., Dept. of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University

"This important and well-written new book tackles a wide range of risk behaviors among adolescents in an engaging, thorough, and reasoned manner. The book is extremely well organized into types of risk behaviors and covers various theories of adolescent risk with clarity and a critical eye. The inclusion of gambling, often ignored in discussions of problem addictive behavior, is one of the many notable aspects of this book and represents a newly emerging problem for teens. The organization of the book allows the reader to absorb detailed information about each type of risk-taking, while making the necessary connection among the different behaviors. Drs. Johnson and Malow-Iroff succinctly illustrate programs that are effective, as well as those that have not been demonstrated to reduce adolescent risk behaviors. This valuable guide should be mandatory reading."—Steven Belenko, Ph.D., Professor, Temple University
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