Meanings and correlates of risk behaviors among Korean adolescents



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Texas Tech University


Korean adolescents are initiating risk behaviors at earlier ages anti are becoming more seriously involved in these behaviors than has been true in the past- The first goal of this study was to examine location and gender differences in Korean adolescent risk behaviors and in other factors which have been identified as correlates of risk behaviors The second goal was to determine whether the correlates of risk behaviors vary by location and by gender The third goal was to explore how Korean adolescents perceive the benefits and costs of risk behaviors, and to determine whether these meanings of risk behaviors differ by location and by gender

Tenth-grade adolescents (464 males, 491 females) in three locations (urban, larger rural, smaller rural) completed questionnaires during the school day Comparisons among these groups indicated that, in general, urban adolescents compared to those in rural communities had a more individualistic orientation, closer relationships with parents, and higher levels of self-esteem. Smaller rural area adolescents, and males compared with females, reported higher levels of both substance use and delinquency.

For all adolescents, risk behaviors were positively related to level of friends' risk behaviors, favorable attitudes toward these behaviors, and to social competence Risk behaviors were negatively related to a collectivistic orientation, father attachment, parental monitoring, and self-esteem Few variations were found among the groups in the associations between risk behaviors and other factors

Perceptions of risk behavior benefits and costs varied to some extent by location and gender. Male adolescents in the larger rural community perceived fewer benefits of both substance use and delinquency than did the other groups Female adolescents compared with males, and adolescents in rural compared with urban environments, perceived fewer costs of risk behaviors

As one of the first large-scale studies to explore correlates of risk behaviors among Korean adolescents, and the first study to examine differences by geographical location within Korea, this study makes a unique contribution to the literature It offers insights about adolescent risk behaviors in a non-Western but in-transition culture, and provides a basis of comparison for future studies



Teenage boys -- Korea -- Attitudes, Rural youth -- Korea, Self-control in adolescence, Teenage girls -- Korea -- Attitudes, Substance abuse -- In adolescence, Parental influences -- Korea, Self-esteem in adolescence -- Korea, Risk-taking (Psychology) in adolescence -- Korea, Urban youth -- Korea, Juvenile delinquency -- Korea