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Predictors of risk-taking behaviors among Turkish adolescents

Özmen, Onur
The purpose of the present study is to examine the role of several demographic and personality characteristics of Turkish adolescent risk takers. More specifically, how well gender, age, sensation-seeking, self-esteem, and locus of control predict adolescent risk-taking behavior was examined in this study. Participants were between the ages of 15-19, from two Anatolian high schools and a general lycee in Ankara. They were given four different instruments to fill out -Modified Risk Involvement and Perception Scale (M-RIPS), Arnett Inventory of Sensation-Seeking (AISS), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (IELOC)- and a demographic data form which was developed by the researcher (n = 867). Involvement subscale of the Risk Involvement and Perception Scale was adapted to Turkish culture by the researcher. A standard multiple regression analysis was conducted to evaluate how well sensation-seeking, self-esteem, locus of control, age, and gender predicted the risk-taking behaviors of adolescents. Results of the study indicated that except self-esteem, all other variables were significantly related to Turkish adolescent risk-taking behaviors. Gender and sensation-seeking were the most predictor variables in explaining adolescent risk-taking. The results also indicated that older male adolescent high sensation seekers who have external locus of control were more likely to engage in various risk-taking behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications, and recommendations for future research were presented.