Rebellious, Risk-Taking Youth

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By: Katie Illidge
E-mail: blinkchick1513@excite.com

Results of a recent study suggest that rebellious, risk-taking kids as young as 11 are more likely to smoke by the time they reach high school. According to the report, children who demonstrate these personality traits in the 5th grade are most likely to smoke in the 12th grade. Targeting smoking in high school students is important since studies have shown that adolescents who smoke daily in the 12th grade are likely to become established smokers as adults. Results of the study, published in the March issue of Preventive Medicine, show a strong association between rebelliousness in males in the 5th grade and daily smoking in the 12th grade. For example, the most rebellious males were three times more likely to become smokers than the least rebellious males. Risk-taking most strongly correlated with smoking among females, the investigators found. To be sure, a youngster who is a rebellious risk-taker is not necessarily destined to become a smoker. While these children may be may be more likely to smoke than their more conventional peers, the influence of family and peers also plays a role. The risk of smoking for a rebellious individual may either increase or decrease depending on whether his or her social environment also involves smoking parents, siblings, or peers. About 19% of 12th-grade students are daily smokers. Despite efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking among adolescents, rates have climbed over the past decade

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