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What is risk-taking behaviour?

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Risk – a challenge or taking a chance

Risk taking behaviour is when a person takes on a challenge that may have a desirable outcome


It may not have a desirable outcome

Risk-taking behaviour usually refers to behaviour that may not necessarily have a positive outcome. Deciding to take part in risk-taking behaviour may have long term consequences for the person involved and may even put others lives in danger. Examples of the most common risk-taking behaviours include:

  • joy-riding

  • dangerous driving

  • drug/drunk driving

  • anti-social behaviour

  • deliberate self-harm

  • severe or excessive dieting

  • unprotected sex

  • compulsive overeating

  • taking drugs

  • smoking

  • pier jumping

However taking risks is not always dangerous and sometimes it is important to take risks if the young person wants to challenge themselves, learn new skills or assume greater responsibility. Often in business, taking calculated risks, for example an entrepreneur taking on a new business venture, happens quite often.

Taking risks is part of growing up and can be a positive experience, for example:

  • trying a new sport

  • doing something different

  • trying a new subject in school

  • meeting new people

  • starting a new job

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