Teen-age Trends of Risky Behavior a 'Mixed Bag'
Time is important, says Resnick, as the change in sexual attitudes took
place over many years, and "had time to trickle down that unthinking
behavior could be lethal." He predicts cocaine use also will decrease in
the coming years because of what he called the "younger sibling
syndrome." Basically, younger siblings will see how the drugs, especially
crack, messed up their older sibling's lives, and will choose to break the
Breaking the cycle and lowering risky behavior is, after all, the overall
goal, according to Kann. "I think this report helps us understand what kids
are doing, and with that information, we can develop programs and policies that
will address their needs. It's far better to build programs based on knowing
what kids are really doing rather than what us grownups might think they're
doing," Kann tells WebMD, noting that there has been progress in the last
Resnick says a key to more progress is enhancing the "protective
factors" in teen-agers' lives. "Kids who report a strong sense of
connection to parents, to family, to school -- and I should add that this sense
of connectedness cross-cuts all family forms, single parent, dual parent foster
families, adoptive families -- when kids report this sense of connection and
closeness ... they engage in less risk taking behavior," Resnick tells
WebMD. "The good news is there are strategies we can use that will have
multiple payoffs on multiple levels for all of our kids, whether they're black,
white, Asian, Hispanic or American Indian, boys or girls."
- The CDC reports that when it comes to reducing risky behaviors, teens are
showing "a mixed bag." The recent report shows since 1991, risky sexual
behavior is declining and condom use is increasing, but smoking and use of
drugs and alcohol are not.
- An observer notes he is encouraged to see some decline in teens' risky
behavior but adds compared to Europe, the U.S. still could make a lot of
- Experts say education is working but needs to continue and time is needed
for change to take place, along with helping teens feel connected to their
parents and values.