How Much Is Auto Insurance For A 17-Year-Old Boy Risk In Teenagers – Why Do They Take Work, Driving And Life Risks? Explanations Here

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Risk In Teenagers – Why Do They Take Work, Driving And Life Risks? Explanations Here

TO RETAIN Generation Y’ers, employers need to keep them safe and healthy at work, as well as ensure a balance between work/life and fun. This is a brief representation of how the current young generation thinks, in general. This arose from the negative observations of Generation Y about how their Baby Boomer and Generation X parents suffered from job insecurity, layoffs, stress, and high levels of job dissatisfaction.

Adolescence is probably the most difficult period in life. Getting used to growing up is usually a painful transition. Have you ever wondered why teenagers think and act the way they do? Why do they have such a tendency to take risks, for example. Some of the latest research reveals that there are tangible, scientific reasons for this. Answers to some of these questions come from the field of psychology with a focus on brain development throughout this part of the lifespan.

This article seeks to uncover and demystify issues of adolescent brain development, so that adult members of society (and parents) can at least understand and address these issues, giving young people the dignity and respect they deserve, and making the transition to adulthood as painless as possible. What follows this short article is a series of summary points from 2006 Research Psychological Science (Source: Glendon, p. 137-150, with full references at the end.)

Remarks and findings

Adolescents are usually better suited to working late night shifts than mature adults, but are not as well suited to hazardous occupations where risk avoidance is essential because they may try to “think” about risk and may inadvertently be “bitten” by danger in the process. The “higher way” of thinking is not well developed in adolescents, so why do we expect them to think and analyze details well? They simply do not perceive and bear risks well. Careful, mature and sensitive supervision is critical.

Teenagers are often frustrated when asked to make decisions based on odds or risks, and tend to do “things” anyway. Adolescents need quality, close supervision and mentoring for specialized tasks. If this does not happen, there will be accidents and injuries.

Hormonal changes cause most problems in brain development and must be managed, even in the mid to late twenties. Gender differences are pronounced – girls are between 4-6 years ahead of boys until their late 20s. This fact presents countless problems in relations between the sexes.

Novelty-seeking, sensation-seeking and risk-taking behavior in teenagers can be explained by the way the brain develops – it’s not just a matter of personal choice.

As for driving, it is important to discourage young drivers from driving with more than one or two peers in the car at a time. With each extra an adolescent passenger increases the risk of a crash. Young drivers’ risk of crashes when driving on sharp turns is higher than all other age and gender groups. Parents are the key role models for their teenagers when it comes to driving behavior – especially parents of the same sex. If the father behaves inappropriately on the road, the teenage son is likely to repeat it. The same goes for mothers and daughters.

In the context of work, we must not give adolescents more than one thing at a time; for most, complex work routines and procedures are a setup for failure. More mature workers tend to set the tone for the workplace culture and adolescents often simply adapt to that culture. No matter how good the safety systems are, if the culture allows adolescents to take risks, they will will take them

It’s easy to dismiss young people as “careless and carefree”, the truth is that there is not much they can do about how they are “wired” and the developmental curve they are on. The fact that they cannot use effective thinking and decision-making about risk as well as adults needs to be addressed sensitively, as most teenagers are characteristically independent; they want to be treated like adults. As adults, we should do as much as is reasonably possible to keep them safe during middle age, respecting them in a way that shows value for their growing ability to relate as adults.

© Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved worldwide.

—————-

Points of (referenced) summarized actual data:

  • When youth already engage in one risky behavior, they are more likely to follow other risky behaviors.
  • There are three levels of brain development. 1) the corpus striatum or the “reptilian brain”, which is responsible for routine and instinct (movement); is the earliest to develop. 2) The the limbic brain is the “seat of emotions” (feelings) and continues to develop. 3) Neocortex or cortex-which makes up 80 percent of the brain’s volume – is the last to mature and is involved in (mental) reasoning and complex “multiple pathway” thinking. For this reason, McLean (1949) proposed three “streams” of brain development – movement, feeling and thought.[1]
  • The cortex is the “executive filter” that assists the lower centers and is used for insightful response.
  • “Circuits of the limbic system are relatively fixed and can strongly influence our (thoughts) cognitions.” (Glendon, 2006, p. 139).
  • A longer (but preferred) pathway to cognition is via the “higher pathway” or cortex. It is involved in a more detailed, factual analysis of things, events and situations.
  • The cerebellum (responsible for posture and movement) is the oldest part of the brain and continues to grow well into late adolescence.[2]
  • Young drivers (17-19 years old) have a significantly higher risk of collision when negotiating a bend but male drivers of 30-39 years of age, and women of the same age.
  • The hippocampus it has connections to both limbic structures, and the neocortex has a vital “role in the integration of emotion with cognition”—feelings and thoughts. (Glendon, 2006, p. 139).
  • Melatonin peaks later in the day for adolescents compared to children and adults may explain why they prefer to go to bed later and wake up later. This means that teenagers and young adults are likely to cope better with shift work in general than mature adults.
  • Because of right ventral striatum is less active in adolescence, teenagers are more driven to risky behavior because the search for a reward is suppressed, rather than the motivator it could be, i.e. the reward for preserving safety.
  • Teenagers are more frustrated with a gambling decision-making task (“probability matching”) than children and adults because dorsolateral prefrontal cortex he didn’t fully mature until his mid-20s.
  • Young people may be able to “see” as well as adults, but they cannot perceive risks because they have yet to develop higher-level (cortex) cognitive interpretive functions.
  • Young people seem to engage in “extended reasoning” in risky situations, which paradoxically is not good because that is when instincts should come into play. Adults are “more likely to create a mental picture of the possible [injurious] outcomes.” (Glendon, 2006, p. 141). Furthermore, extended reasoning produces longer response times, when a visceral response (gut reaction) would suffice.
  • The brain changes significantly anatomically between the ages of 18 and 25, which partly explains why insurance companies have “under 25 clauses”.
  • Gender differences in brain development are pronounced. “Girls’ brains develop faster than boys’ … the typical brain of a 17-year-old boy resembles the brain of an 11-year-old girl.” (Glendon, 2006, p. 142). Using another measure: brain myelination, there is a 3-4 year gender gap in favor of women. Using this measure, men’s brain development does not “catch up” to women’s until age 29.
  • Although a number of cross-sectional studies have been done, there have been very few longitudinal studies[3] and there is a need to address it.
  • Full brain maturity for both sexes is said to be mid to late twenties; meanwhile, “the brain is driven by hormonal changes” and behavioral safety issues therefore need to be managed. (Glendon, 2006, p. 142).
  • “Brain systems that control arousal, emotional experiences and social information processing become much more active at puberty.” This explains why we see “an increase in novelty-seeking, sensation-seeking and risk-taking” among teenagers. (Glendon, 2006, pp. 143-44).
  • Traffic accident data suggests that the risk of a crash increases with “each additional member of their peer group as a passenger.” (Glendon, 2006, p. 144). This means that parents should try to set a limit for their teenagers to only drive one or two peers in the car. Maybe four or five teenagers in one car looking for trouble?
  • Peer pressure is still a significant problem for people up to about age 25 due to the immaturity of the frontal lobe.
  • Multi-tasking functions are not perfected until adolescence. Young drivers are even more susceptible to accidents when using mobile phones, CD players, etc. while driving than adults. Adolescents should only be given one task at a time until they can demonstrate that they can handle more.
  • “Preventing exposure to hazards” is likely to be the best way to protect young people, workers and drivers. (Glendon, 2006, p. 144). In other words, great attention should be paid to protecting and ensuring the safety of young people in dangerous environments such as roads. Supervisory controls are appropriate and desirable.
  • Parents are the key role models for their teenagers when it comes to driving behavior – especially parents of the same sex. If the father behaves inappropriately on the road, the teenage son is likely to repeat it.
  • In the work context, older workers set the tone for workplace culture and adolescents often simply adapt to that culture. No matter how good safety systems are, if the culture allows adolescents to take risks, they will.
  • Key reference:

    Glendon, I., Brain development during adolescence: some implications for risk-taking and injury liability, in Journal of Occupational Health and Safety: Australia and New Zealand2006, 22(2): 137-150.

    footnotes:

    [1] Jones, Joseph M. (1995) Affect as a process: exploring the central importance of affect in psychological life (Contributed by Joseph D. Lichtenberg, 268 pages, The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, New Jersey and London) p. 62-63.

    [2] Goodburn, Elizabeth A. and Ross, David A. (1995). “The Picture of Health: A Review and Annotated Bibliography on the Health of Young People in Developing Countries.” Published by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The World Health Organization quantifies “adolescence” from old age 10-19 years.

    [3] Longitudinal studies typically involve following a cohort group over 20-30 years, and are obviously less common in research circles compared to cross-sectional studies because it is difficult to follow the same group of individuals over that time.

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