, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 17-27

The Contingent Effects of Risk Perception on Risk-Taking Behavior: Adolescent Participative Orientation and Marijuana Use

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Viewing marijuana use as a risk-taking behavior, we find that the perception of high risk related to regular use of marijuana has no simple direct effect on that risk-taking behavior. Rather, the effect of risk perception is contingent upon the extent of youth participation in activities such as going to parties, going to bars, attending concerts and visiting friends. The perception of risk suppresses marijuana use most effectively in the context of activities where such a risk-taking behavior is most prevalent. These findings are congruent with recent literature on actions of risk-taking that takes into account the subjective meaning orientation as a moderator between perception and action. These lead us to conclude that a behavioral-specific approach can augment the conventional approach to common factors underlying the youths' proneness to problem behaviors.