Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Community based intervention on adolescent risk taking: using research for community action
  1. Carolyn Coggan1,
  2. Barbara Disley2,
  3. Pam Patterson1
  1. 1Injury Prevention Research Centre, University of Auckland
  2. 2Mental Health Commission of New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Carolyn Coggan, Injury Prevention Research Centre, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Objectives—To use research on adolescent risk taking behaviour as an impetus for a community to develop locally based injury prevention strategies.

Design—Case study, based on a community action model and formative evaluation. This involved: a community profile on adolescent risk taking behaviour; interviews with service providers; dissemination of research findings to local policy makers; development and implementation of a community action plan to address adolescent risk taking; and assessment of its impact.

Setting—A rural town with a population of 10 195 situated in the North Island of New Zealand.

Subjects—School aged adolescents and the safety policies and practices of community organisations involved with adolescents.

Results—Risk taking behaviours identified by the community profile included: drink-driving, substance abuse, carrying of weapons with intent to harm, and suicidal ideation. Community members identified that risk taking behaviour associated with alcohol in relation to: (1) violence (self directed and assault) and (2) road related injuries should be the focus of their activities. The strategies identified focused on advocacy, education, legal/regulatory change, and environmental modification. Evaluation conducted six months after intervention identified increased community awareness of the adverse effects of adolescent risk taking and some changes in policies and practice related to adolescent safety.

Conclusions—Providing a community with local information that has high relevance for its members may act as a stimulus for the development of injury prevention initiatives. While this case study illustrated that a comprehensive approach focusing on adolescent risk taking behaviour, rather than on isolated injury problems, may be an appropriate way to highlight escalating adolescent injury rates, it also demonstrates the limitations of a short time frame for a community development project.

  • adolescent
  • risk taking
  • commnunity
  • formative evaluation

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.