Young people often believe that harm from at risk behavior only comes to others. When shown that they are at personal risk from use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, from group and individual violence and from at risk sexual practices, research indicates that many will alter their behavior. Effective use of this strategy involves linking personal risks with studentsí aspirations. As examples:
  • Student athletes could learn about the negative impact of smoking and drinking on athletic performance,
  • Students with aspirations to higher education could learn about the correlation between heavy drinking and lower grades, and,
  • Young women could learn about the increased risks of sexual assault when they are intoxicated or associating with intoxicated individuals.
The prevention strategy of increasing perception of personal risk can be incorporated into many k-12 classes. For example:
  • In science classes students can study the effects of tobacco and other drugs on the body and the positive effects of healthy practices.
  • In social science classes students can study the negative effect of shared group denial of the consequences of at risk behaviors. In small groups they may brain storm ways of overcoming denial.
  • In language arts classes students may read, write about and discuss denial of the consequences of at risk behavior. They may share their ideas in small groups and organize interactive presentations for their class.

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