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Review of assessment tools for risky behaviors among Indian adolescents

Status: Completed

Investigators: Madhavi Rangaswamy, Harishankar Moosath

Research scholar: Prakat Karki

In this qualitative review, a total of seven Western self-report tools assessing risk behaviors among adolescents were evaluated in order to test for the relevance of its items for use among Indian adolescents and also generate a logical framework and a set of recommendations for the development of an Indian risk tool for use among adolescents. The tools included The Risk Taking Questionnaire (RT-18) The Risk Taking and Self-Harm Inventory (RTSHIA), Adolescent Exploratory Risk Taking Questionnaire (AERTS), The Adolescent Risk Taking Questionnaire (ARQ), Youth Behavioral Risk Survey (YBRS), Domain Specific Risk Taking Scale (DOSPERT) and the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS-C).


Out of a pool of 290 items, it was found that approximately 71 items made reference to atypical or rare objects or behaviors outside the normative range of Indian adolescents. The items were condensed to their basic themes and categories were derived after analysis of the themes on important facets of risk, particularly nature of consequences, timescale and magnitude of consequences, as well as representation of the categories of behaviors in the seven tools and evidence in literature. A total of 12 categories of risk behaviors were derived which include driving related risks, fighting or violence, alcohol use, tobacco use, hard drug use, thrill seeking type risks, ethical risks, pro social risks, financial risks, unhealthy sexual practices, food and nutrition related risks and emotion or affect related risks.


Issues for consideration in the assessment of risk behaviors within each of the categories were highlighted. A final set of recommendations were also formulated for the development of an Indian risk tool for adolescents which included concerns related to issues of age, gender, region of origin, social influence and evolution of the concept of risk itself.


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