RE: "Risky" Situations

Lindsay Oades (
13 Oct 1995 15:32:54 +1000

To Bob Green et al,
thanks again for the reply. I am currently trying to develop something quite
similar to what you are suggesting in regards to a feasability study, so I
find your comments quite heartening. I am thinking firstly of asking young
people about their definitions of risk (and its alternative) combined with
laddering and pyramiding. Following this I intend to ask them to choose some
drawings I will have of "risky" situations. I am currently deciding whether to
fix some situations, which they must rate, and/or leave choice open with other
situations. Both asking for a definition and giving some choice seems
important, so not to impose my construct of risk. I intend to draw
participants from secondary schools, first year university and juvenile
offender populations. I have several ideas about which drawings of "risky"
situations I could use. I have been thinking of asking young people why each
situation they selected was risky etc and in some way asking them to tell a
story about each situation. Following this I intend to ask them how "risky"
(quantitively) they rate each situation, combined with how likely key people
(eg mother, best friend) would rate these situations. My ultimate aim is then
to have both qualitative and quantitative information about how these young
people construe risk.I wish to use the qualitative information to better
inform a conceptual model. I wish to use the quantitative measures (ie grid
ratings) to relate to measures Berzonsky's Identity Styles and Viney's
measures of Psychosocial Maturity. Do you have any further ideas about how
best to develop this grid (combined with narratives) involving drawings of
possibly "risky" situations?

Lindsay Oades
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Subject: Risk
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Subject: Risk
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Lindsay Oades writes,

>..... Is it only after actually conducting an experiment which is either
>(threatening) or potentially could have been that they come to anticipate
that certain
>actions may have negative consequence. That is, is a young person who has had
>without a condom more likely to construe this act as threatening, dangerous,
risky (I'm
>not sure which word to use) as compared to say a young person who has not had

Regarding the latter scenario, there are alternative views the young person
might take, e.g:
if I get away with it once then I can get away with it another time, it won't
happen to me
or I am willing to take the chance.

Regarding what I meant by a feasibility study, you could either interview some
about what risk means to them and how they make choices in such situations or
you could
develop a grid with 'high' and 'low' risk situations as elements and see what
constructs are
generated/how the situations are rated. A questionaire could also do this, eg
is it riskier to
your health to a)have unprotected sex b)smoke cigarettes or c) bungy jump (a
distant event
may be perceived as less risky for some than an immediate issue though the
risk is
greater) or what are the 10 most risky things you have done?

There are lots of ways a small scale study could be conducted to see how youth
risk and whether it restrains or challenges people.


Bob Green