Adolescence is a time when risk behaviors begin to increase through experimentation with health risk behaviors such as substance used and reckless driving and exploratory risk behaviors such as asking someone on a date and standing up to peers. It is likely that some risk-taking is necessary in the course of social and academic development throughout childhood and adolescence. A shift in the adolescent risk behavior research from a focus on health related behaviors to physical and psychological well-being with a link to educational attainment has gained strength, but the goals of this movement are incomplete. Research is needed to better understand the positive outcomes of health risk and exploratory risk behaviors, and a measure that includes both exploratory risk behavior and health risk behavior is needed. The Adolescent Exploratory and Risk Behavior Rating Scale (AERRS) was developed to address this need.
The AERRS was developed using both classical test theory and item response theory methods. The participants were 682 high school students in the Midwest. The results suggest that the developed measure has adequate reliability. The initial examination of validity resulted in a factor structure in which health risk behaviors and exploratory risk behaviors fall into separate factors with some gender differences noted. The item response theory results suggest that risk behavior is a spectrum of behaviors with exploratory behaviors falling on one end and health risk behavior on the opposite end of the spectrum. It was concluded that the AERRS is a reliable measure that has the potential to become a key assessment that has many potential uses in both academic research and applied settings, such as schools.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2009. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisors: Theodore Christ, Sandra Christenson. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 85 pages, appendices A-B.
Skaar, Nicole Renee.
Development of the adolescent exploratory and risk behavior rating scale..
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