Monday, 29 Jun, 2009 Offbeat

A Lot of Kids Think They Would Die Young


It was recently unveiled that a surprisingly large number of youngsters believe they are going to die young, which motivates a lot of teenagers to start taking drugs, attempt to commit suicide and other rather unsafe actions. The results of the research were unveiled after scientists analyzed over 20,000 teenagers with the goal of finding whether it is true that young people engage in risky behaviors, believing they cannot do any harm or be harmed.

According to the author of the research, Dr. Iris Borowsky, specialist from the University of Minnesota, a large number of teens decide to take their chance due to the fact that "they feel hopeless and figure that not much is at stake". It turned out that teens that thought they would die young were seven times more likely to end up with AIDS or attempt to commit suicide. In addition, these kids were more likely to be involved in fights and get serious injuries.

Previously scientists thought that kids show unsafe behavior because they misjudge bad consequences and think "it can't happen to me". Such belief was refuted in the latest study. Valerie Reyna, a professor at Cornell University says: "It's extremely important to talk about how perception of risk influences risk-taking behavior.". The study showed that fatalistic kids were not more likely to die over the 7-year-study; in fact 94 died from a list of over 20,000 teens.

Scientists examined information from a nationally representative survey of children in grades 7 to 12. All of the children were interviewed 3 times throughout the period between 1995 and 2002. Among 20,594 youngsters, about 14.7 percent said they will most likely die before they reach 35. Further analysis unveiled that these teenagers engaged into more risky behavior than those who thought more positively, reports In their research, scientists mentioned that some teens overestimate their chances of being harmed. At the same time the study provides evidence that there are young people who have a good reason for thinking pessimistically. Teen from low-income families, Native Americans and black youngsters - who face violence more than others - were more likely to think that they would die young.

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