Some Concluding Thoughts

  • Richard JessorEmail author
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


This chapter provides a reflective overview of the current formulation of the Problem Behavior Theory conceptual framework. The present framework is presented in Fig. 12.1, and its properties and dynamics—the co-variation among and between risk behaviors and pro-social behaviors; the notion of lifestyle; the engagement of both person and context; the dialectic between risk and protection in accounting for behavior; the buffering role of protection on the impact of exposure to risk; and the promotive effect of protective factors—are all elaborated. The stance of the theory is that engaging in risk behavior is part of normal development for most youth and that explanations that invoke psychopathology or the immature brain are generally gratuitous and inappropriate. The chapter also notes which protective factors and which risk factors have been key in accounting for variation in risk behavior or pro-social behavior engagement. Further, it argues for jettisoning the term “risk-taking behavior” in favor of the term “risk behavior,” and for the important role of the social–psychological explanatory dimension of “conventionality–unconventionality.” Finally, as an aid to researchers interested in applying Problem Behavior Theory in their own work, it provides a link to the web site for the Adolescent Health and Development Questionnaire, the instrument used in our most recent studies.


Problem Behavior Theory Protective factors Promotive factors Risk factors Lifestyle Risk behavior Conventionality–unconventionality 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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