CECW Information Sheet #15E. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.
Taking risks in adolescence is a part of identity formation. As experimentation, risk behaviours may enhance self-confidence and help build relationships with peers and connections with others. Some teens, however, move beyond behaviours that might be considered developmentally-appropriate experimentation, putting themselves in situations that carry the potential for serious problems, including impairment.
Research suggests that youth who have been abused or neglected are more likely than youth without such histories to engage in behaviours that may have negative long-term consequences. This information sheet reviews research about youth risk behaviours and introduces the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) project, a study of risk behaviours among teens who receive child welfare services.