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Social risk in adolescence

Andrews, Jack Leslie; (2021) Social risk in adolescence. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Adolescence, defined as 10-24 years, is a time of heightened sensitivity to the negative effects of social rejection. Avoiding social risks – decisions or actions that could lead to social rejection - may therefore be important for adolescents, for whom social status and acceptance predicts future mental and physical health. In this thesis, I describe a series of studies that investigated the relationship between social risk and adolescence. In my first study, I developed a novel self-report measure of concern for health and social risk behaviours. I assessed age-related differences in concern for health and social risk between adolescence and adulthood, and whether these were related to rejection sensitivity and depressive symptomatology. In my second study, I explored the degree to which adolescents’ engagement in health risks and illegal behaviours was related to whether or not they perceived these behaviours to increase their likability. I also investigated how this relationship is impacted by adolescents’ experience of victimisation. In my third study, I used network analysis to explore the link between sexual minority status, depression, interpersonal relationships and health risk behaviours in a large cohort study of adolescents. In my fourth study, I designed an experiment to measure the extent to which adolescents versus adults show a preference for social versus non-social stimuli within an academic diligence task. I discuss how my findings suggest adolescence to be a period of heightened sensitivity to social risk, and how this impacts decisions to engage in risk taking behaviour. I consider how my findings relate to legal and policy issues around the minimum age of criminal responsibility, joint enterprise convictions and the use of peer-led approaches for behaviour change.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Social risk in adolescence
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131471
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