Risk-taking behaviour of Cape Peninsula high school students
AbstractObjectives. To ascertain whether the notion of a syndrome of adolescent risk behaviour (which includes problem drinking, marijuana use, having experienced sexual intercourse, 'general deviance' and cigarette smoking) is valid for this setting; and to investigate whether suicidal behaviour and behaviour that exposes the adolescent to injury should be included in this syndrome. Design. Cross-sectional survey utilising a self-completed questionnaire; for both sexes, relationships between behaviours were documented as odds ratios. Setting. High schools in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Subjects. 7 340 students from 16 schools in the three major ed ucation departments. Outcome measures. Participation in the following behaviours: alcohol bingeing, cannabis smoking, sexual intercourse, knife-carrying at school, cigarette smoking, attempting suicide, failure to use a seat belt, and walking home at night from beyond the neighbourhood. Results. All the odds ratios were greater than 1. There were statisticaHy significant odds ratios between all the pairs of risk behaviours included in the 'original' syndrome of risk behaviour except for cigarette smoking and having had sexual intercourse in the case of girls. There were statistically significant relationships between all these risk behaviours, suicidal behaviour, and behaviours that exposed the adolescent to risk of physical injury, except for failure to use a seat belt and: (I) suicidal behaviour for both sexes; and (iI) walking home alone at night and having had sexual intercourse in the case of gins. Conclusion. The notion of a syndrome of adolescent risk behaviour is valid for this population, and both suicidal behaviour and behaviour that exposes the adolescent to injury should be included in this syndrome.
S Afr Med J 1996; 86; 1090-1093.
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