Should students be taught to be risk-taking or risk-averting?


Authors: Joseph Wu, Wing Hong Chui, and Veronica Ka Wai Lai
Page Range: 101-109
Published in: International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health, 16#2 (2023)
ISSN: 1939-5930

Table of Contents


Investigations of risk taking in student populations have a long history and have important implications for education. Deviant behaviors among school students such as smoking, heavy drinking, drug abuse, and unprotected sex have long been concerns for educators. A commonly accepted definition of risk-taking behavior is “behavior which involves potential negative consequences.” A definition like this is usually encrypted with the implication that risk taking by itself is undesirable. It seems that, to many people, risk taking looks like a negative behavior that should be avoided as much as possible. A review of the extant literature targeting student populations can shed light on the tenability of this belief. This narration examines publications reporting three main lines of research. The first is whether risk taking should be domain-generic or domain-specific. The second is concerned with the influencing factors that make an individual inclined to engage in or refrain from risk taking. The third is the consequences/outcomes of risk-taking. It is undeniable that impulsive and/or irrational risk taking should not be encouraged as it might have undesirable and/or negative impacts on students’ physical health and/or psychological wellbeing. However, informed and thoughtful risk taking can be a way to nurture positive personal development and can be allowed in appropriate circumstances.

Keywords: Risk taking, student, domain-specific, influencing factor, consequence

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