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Adolescence, sense of identity and risk taking amongst female students in a senior secondary school in Tasmania

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Wood, D (2009) Adolescence, sense of identity and risk taking amongst female students in a senior secondary school in Tasmania. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This research examined risk taking, with the main focus being negative risk taking and the main target adolescent females in a Senior Secondary School setting in Tasmania, using three varied methodologies and perspectives for the data collection. The first, and major method, used a questionnaire distributed to a Year 11 group of females, aged sixteen to nineteen, who were just beginning their first year of non –compulsory, post secondary education. This questionnaire covered many socio-demographic factors in the females’ lives and had the main focus of discovering their risk taking perceptions and participation rates regarding four main areas of negative risk taking, namely alcohol and drug use and abuse, sexual activity and the viewing of X-Rated (pornographic) videos. The socio-demographic information concentrated on the females’ sense of self, their personal goals and positive and negative risk taking activities within the context of social capital, psychological, social, educational, risk taking and health background theory and in the three domains of family, school and community. Comparisons were drawn between the town and country female participants. To provide a wider perspective on the topic of risk taking, interviews were also conducted with those professionals and carers of adolescent children, namely School Administrators, Teachers, and Parents to provide information from the reality of adolescents’ lives. These adults gave important insights into the actual issues, common to this age group. They provided information regarding the nature of their discussions about risk- taking and the strategies they utilized to produce resilience in adolescents and the avoidance of negative risk-taking activities. The third source of data involved a review of the Australian and State Policies impinging on aspects of the curricula suitable for these adolescents. These policies demonstrated two approaches to the topics under discussion in this thesis. The Australian Government policies gave broad, generic guidelines to the problems associated with negative risk taking and provided funding, whilst the individual States provided the actual curricula and personnel. Funding was a key component for the successful implementation of the State programs. The major findings from the questionnaire emphasised that the females’ sense of self, parental influence and, to a lesser extent, religious values will decrease negative risk taking. The advice from the adults in the interviews focused on maintaining a positive attitude about adolescent risk taking activities, with the use of personal experiences to provide guidelines for appropriate behaviour. The analysis of the policies emphasised the need to provide healthy, supportive environments for adolescents and appropriate information about negative risk taking.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Adolescence, self identity, risk taking
Additional Information: Copyright the Author
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2012 04:21
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2012 08:03
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/12527
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