Richard Jessor
IBS Bldg. # 1, 203
492-6404; 8148

Seminar on the Social Psychology of Adolescent Risk Behavior

Psychology 7536-805, Spring, 2007
Wednesday, 3:00-4:40
Muenzinger D318

Adolescent risk behavior constitutes a domain of unusual confluence of personal, social, developmental, and societal influences; thus, it should engage the interests of both social and clinical psychologists. Four major categories of risk behavior will be considered: 1) Problem behaviors, such as illicit drug use or early sexual initiation that involve transgression of legal or social norms; 2) Inadequate social role performance, such as disconnecting from or dropping out of school; 3) Health-compromising behavior, such as poor eating habits, insufficient exercise, or unprotected sexual activity; and 4) Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Depending on the intensity of involvement in these behaviors, all of them can compromise positive adolescent development and interfere with the successful accomplishment of age-relevant tasks. The seminar will be concerned with examining the epidemiology, the structure/organization, and the developmental course of adolescent risk behavior. It will also consider the degree to which extant social-psychological theories provide an adequate explanatory account of variation in adolescent risk behavior, including gender, ethnic, socio-economic, and cross-national variation. And it will address the degree to which current understanding of adolescent risk behavior provides a logical basis for the design of prevention/intervention programs, and which programs are, indeed, evidence-based.

There will be an emphasis on discussion in the seminar and on the sharing of research-related experience about key issues in approaching the seminar topic. Current readings will be drawn from the literature, and a book of readings will also be provided (Jessor, R. (Ed.) New Perspectives on Adolescent Risk Behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). A class presentation and a term paper will be expected.

General Outline of Seminar

Part I: An Overview of Adolescence and Adolescent Development

Toward an understanding of the social psychology of the adolescent life-stage.
Steinberg, L. & Morris, A.S. (2001).Adolescent development. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 83-110.
Barber, B.K., Maughan, S.L., Olsen, J.A. (2005). Patterns of parenting across adolescence. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. 108, New York: Wiley. Pp. 5-16.
Smetana, J.G., Campione-Barr, N., Metzger, A.(2006) Adolescent development in interpersonal and societal contexts. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 255-284.
Conger, R.D., & Donnellan, M.B., (2007) An interactionist perspective on the socioeconomic context of human development. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 175-199.
Part II: Initial Conceptual Issues

Establishing the phenomena we seek to explain/understand.
1. The concept of "risk behavior" in adolescence.
Chapter 1 in textbook.
Jessor, R. 1991. Risk behavior in adolescence: A psychosocial framework for understanding and action. Journal of Adolescent Health, 12, 597-605.

2. The distribution/concentration of adolescent risk behavior by age, gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, geography, culture, etc.
Wallace, J. M., Jr., & Bachman, J. G. (1991). Explaining racial/ethnic differences in adolescent drug use: The impact of background and lifestyle. Social Problems, 38(3), 333-357.
Wallace, J. M. Jr., Forman, T.A., Guthrie, B.J., Bachman, J.G., O'Malley, P.M., Johnston, L.D. (1999) The epidemiology of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among Black youth. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60(6), 800-809.
Krieger, N. (2001). Theories for social epidemiology in the 21st century: An ecosocial perspective. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30, 668-677.

3. The developmental course of adolescent risk behavior; accounting for variation in age of onset, early-late developmental change, and diminution or desistance of risk behaviors.
Sampson, R. J. & Laub, J. H. (1992). Crime and deviance in the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 18, 63-84.
Moffitt, T.E. (1993) Adolescence-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100(4), 674-701.
Jessor, R. 1993. Successful adolescent development among youth in high-risk settings. American Psychologist, 48, 117-126.

4. The structure and organization of adolescent risk behavior; the issue of co-variation. Is there a syndrome of risk behavior?
Chapter 4 in textbook.

5. Explaining variation in adolescent risk behavior; theories of the middle range.
Petraitis, J., Flay, B. R., & Miller T. Q. (1995). Reviewing theories of adolescent substance use: Organizing pieces in the puzzle. Psychological Bulletin, 117(1), 67-86.
Steinberg, L. Is decision making the right framework for research on adolescent risk taking? In Romer D. (Ed.) (2003) Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Costa, F.M. (2006) Problem-Behavior Theory~ A brief overview.
Donovan, J.E. (2005) Problem Behavior Theory. In C.B. Fisher & R.M. Lerner (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science (Vol.2). Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage. Pp. 872-877.
Jessor, R., Turbin, M.S., Costa, F.M., Dong, Q., Zhang, H., and Wang, C. 2003. Adolescent problem behavior in China and the United States: A cross-national study of psychosocial protective factors. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13 (1), 329-360.
Costa, F.M., Jessor, R., Turbin, M.S., Dong, Q., Zhang, H., and Wang, C. 2005. The role of social contexts in adolescence: Context protection and context risk in the U.S. and China. Applied Developmental Science, 9 (2), 67-85.
Part III: Measuring risk behavior in adolescence

Coming to terms with self-report, veridicality, comprehensiveness, ethical concerns.
Survey of Personal and Social Development at CU (2003)
Jessor, R. Ethnographic methods in contemporary perspective. In R. Jessor, R., Colby, A., and Shweder, R.A. (eds.). 1996. Ethnography and Human Development: Context and Meaning in Social Inquiry. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
Part IV: Examining key adolescent risk behaviors

Alcohol Use/Abuse as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Chapter 6 in textbook.
Jessor, R., Costa, F.M., Kreuger, P.M., and Turbin, M.S. 2006. A developmental study of heavy episodic drinking among college students: The role of psychosocial and behavioral protective and risk factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67, 86-94.
Illicit Drug Use as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Kandel, D.B. & Jessor, R. The gateway hypothesis revisited. In Kandel, D.B. (Ed.) (2002) Stages and pathways of drug involvement: Examining the gateway hypothesis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 365-372.
Sexual Activity as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Chapters 8 and 9 in textbook.
Fortenberry, J.D. Adolescent sex and the rhetoric of risk. In Romer D. (Ed.) (2003) Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Depression as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Chapter 10 in textbook.
Inadequate Role Performance as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Chapters 12 and 13 in textbook.
Poor Eating, Exercise, and Safety Habits as Adolescent Risk Behavior.
Chapter 7 in textbook.
Jessor, R., Turbin, M.S., and Costa, F.M. 1998. Protective factors in adolescent health behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 788-800.
Turbin, M.S., Jessor, R., Costa, F.M., Dong, Q., Zhang, H., and Wang, C. Protective and risk factors in health-enhancing behavior among adolescents in China and the United States: Does social context matter? Health Psychology, 25 (4), 445-454..
Part V: Prevention of and Intervention in Adolescent Risk Behavior.

Programs for specific risk behavior change; programs for lifestyle or person-level change; programs for social context change. Considering "Upstream" versus "Downstream" approaches.
Gorman, D. M. (1996). Do school-based social skills training programs prevent alcohol use among young people? Addiction Research, 4(2), 191-210.
Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Botvin, E. M., & Diaz, T. (1995). Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug abuse prevention trial in a white middle-class population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 273(14), 1106-1112.
Flay, B.R. Positive youth development is necessary and possible. In Romer D.(Ed) (2003) Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Roth, J.L. & Brooks-Gunn, J. Youth development programs and healthy development. In Romer D. (Ed.) (2003) Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.(2004) Blueprints Model Programs: Life Skills Training. Pp.1-4.

January 2007