Essay on Adolescent Risk Perception Comparable to Adults

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1147 Words
Date:  2023-01-29

According to Steinberg (55), the logical reasoning of a teen who is 15 years old can be compared to those of adults since the adolescents consider the risk or rather estimate the way they are vulnerable to it like adults. Also, increasing risks salience that is connected to making a decision that is dangerous has comparable impacts on adults and adolescents. Most of the studies found out that there is little age difference in the way adults and adolescents evaluate risks in different dangerous behaviors. For instance, there is a way in which adults and adolescents vary in the way in which they judge consequences' seriousness resulting from a behavior that is risky and ways relating to benefits and costs of evaluating the activities that are risky.

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The article argues that since adults and adolescents' reason similarly regarding risk-taking, most of the researchers have explained that the age difference regarding risk-taking is due to the information used by adults and adolescents in the process of making a decision (Steinberg 55). Unfortunately, the attempts that have been utilized in reducing risk-taking among adolescents, including altering beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes, have proven to be unfruitful. Therefore, it is evident that the logical reasoning of a 15year-old adolescent is almost similar to that of an adult.

There are some problem behaviors affecting individuals, such as cigarette smoking. Efforts have been made in different circumstances to offer teens with information regarding unprotected sex, substance use, and reckless driving. The information regarding these issues which have been provided to the adolescents has led to improvements in their way of thinking regarding the phenomena. Unfortunately, their behaviors have remained the same in most of the cases despite the different programs introduced. Reduction in the health-compromising behavior of adolescents is connected to the changes in the way the risks are regarded. Such as increased cigar prices, enforcing graduated licensing programs, and programs for distributing condoms.

From the article, it is evident that the information programs introduced to adolescents are essential because, in some instances, it changes their behaviors. Unfortunately, educating them on the risky behavior have turned out to be disappointing. The best solution is introducing the programs. Although some of the programs have failed since the teens tend not to take them seriously, health educators have continued to establish and provide interventions considering unproven effectiveness. The programs include sex education on abstinence-only, driver's education, and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (Steinberg 55-56).

The two areas of the brain involved in adolescent decision making include the socioemotional network and cognitive control network. The socioemotional network tends to be sensitive for emotional and social stimuli, and it helps in reward processing (Steinberg 56). The socioemotional network is remodeled at puberty by hormonal changes for early adolescents. This network is localized in paralimbic and limbic areas of the brain which entails medial prefrontal cortex, ventral striatum, amygdala, superior temporal sulcus, and orbitofrontal cortex. The other area is a cognitive control network, and it engages in executive functions, including self-regulation, planning, and thinking ahead. It entails brain's outer regions like parietal cortices, lateral prefrontal, and some parts of the anterior cingulate cortex.

The cognitive control network can enact regulatory control over risky and impulsive behavior. Unfortunately, in emotional arousal or when the peers are around, then the socioemotional network is activated in diminishing cognitive control network effectiveness (Steinberg 56). During adolescence, there is maturity in the cognitive control network so that in adulthood, there is a chance of modulating inclinations to the process of risk-taking even when there is high socioemotional network arousal. In processing emotional information, reward and social information are significant. According to Steinberg (56), the interaction among cognitive control and socioemotional networks has been used in different contexts of decision making, including alternative reward valuation, social decision processing, drug utilization, and moral judgments.

Mental maturity has an impact on the decision-making process of an individual. For the case of adolescents, they are mentally and psychologically immature, and this undermines the way they making critical decisions in life. However, adults are mentally mature, and this also has an impact on the way they make their decisions. Therefore, the conclusion which is drawn by most of the researchers that the teens are competent decision-makers just like the adults is only true in some of the conditions in which the impact of different psychosocial impact is highly minimized (Steinberg 56). This issue gives the explanation as to why mental maturity has an impact on decision making. It is not that the adolescents are poor decision-makers, but since their brain is not well developed, they in some cases, they might make unsound decisions that affect their lives. On the other hand, adults are mentally mature, and this enables them to make mature decisions in life. When adolescents are presented with risky situations having potential costs and rewards, they turn to be more sensitive as compared to adults to rewards variation and relatively sensitive or less sensitive to costs variation (Steinberg 57).

In reducing adolescent risk-taking, Steinberg (58) suggests that strategies, like raising cigar prices, enforcing laws that govern alcohol sale, raising the age of driving, and expanding access of mental health to the adolescents, can be efficient. These strategies can play an essential role in limiting smoking in adolescents, pregnancies, automobile fatalities, and substance abuse. These strategies are more efficient as compared to the ones that aim at making adolescents less impulsive, less shortsighted, and wiser. There are things that take a lot of time to develop, and making a mature judgment is one of them. The research that is reviewed by the author makes a suggestion that for adolescents, heightened risk-taking has high possibilities of being biologically driven, normative, and inevitable (Steinberg 58). It means that not much can be done in delaying or attenuating reward sensitivity shift taking place during puberty. Even though it is possible for an individual to hasten self-regulatory competence maturation, no research has proven its possibility. Thus, the importance of reducing risk-taking among the adults as it has more negative impacts as compared to the positive effects.


In conclusion, the study shows that the logical reasoning among the adolescents and adults, they vary in some small instances since the brain of an adult is more developed as compared to that of a teen, for instance, in judging the seriousness of a consequence. In several circumstances, efforts have been made to offer the teens with information regarding unprotected sex, substance use, and reckless driving. Unfortunately, the efforts have turned unfruitful. Therefore, the best solutions suggested by the author includes raising cigar prices, enforcing laws that govern alcohol sale, raising the age of driving, and expanding access to mental health. The strategies can help in limiting pregnancies, automobile fatalities, and substance abuse for teens.

Works Cited

Steinberg, Laurence. "Risk-taking in adolescence: New perspectives from brain and behavioral science." Current directions in psychological science 16.2 (2007): 55-59. file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Risk%20taking%20in%20adolescence.pdf

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Essay on Adolescent Risk Perception Comparable to Adults. (2023, Jan 29). Retrieved from

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