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Rôle du tempérament et de la conscience émotionnelle dans la prise de risque chez des adolescents

Abstract : Introduction. —Risk-taking behaviors among adolescents are now considered as a real public health issue. To investigate for potential vulnerability factors, adolescent risk-taking behavior can be analyzed from several different perspectives, based on biological, social or psychological variables. Risk-taking theories based on temperamental dimensions examine individual differences in propensity for engaging in such behaviors, whereas others focused on emotional processing disorder such as alexithymia or anhedonia with diverse conclusions. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between risk taking and two levels of psychological functioning: personality with reference to Cloninger’s model of personality, and emotion with reference to Lane and Schwartz’s level of emotional awareness theory. Method. — The sample consisted in 488 adolescents (mage = 14.93, SD = 1.44) with 257 boys (mage = 15, SD = 1.51) and 231 girls (mage = 14.52, SD = 1.23) who completed a set of three inventories: the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Scale (YRBSS), the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, and the Level of Emotional Awareness Scale. Risk-taking behaviors were also assessed indirectly with regards to teachers or school educators’ evaluation. Results. — Moderate to weak significant correlations were found between temperament dimensions and risk-taking, and between level of emotional awareness and risk-taking. A positive moderate correlation was observed between novelty and risk-taking, whereas a negative weak correlation was observed between harm avoidance and risk-taking. Level of emotional awareness shows moderate negative correlations with risk-taking, as the two self and others dimensions. Finally, a model including the four temperament and the two emotional awareness dimensions was tested with risk-taking as the outcome variable. It accounted for 33% of the total variance (R2 = 0.33; F = 30.78, p < 0.0001), with novelty seeking (p < 0.0001), self (p < 0.0001) and others (p = 0.0001), and level of emotional awareness as significant criteria. Discussion. — As hypothesized, temperamental dispositions of novelty seeking and harm avoidance, associated with weak emotional awareness, were associated with risk-taking. They may be considered as vulnerability factors for adolescents to engage in risk-taking behaviors. Several propositions may explain our results. First, risk-taking might be considered as an attempt to struggle against a sensation of emptiness due to a lack of emotion. Second, it may tend to replace emotion by sensations, which could be more controlled. Third, it could be an attempt — without success — to construct the complexity of subjective emotional experience.
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Vincent Bréjard, Agnès Bonnet, Jean-Louis Pedinielli. Rôle du tempérament et de la conscience émotionnelle dans la prise de risque chez des adolescents. L'Encéphale, Elsevier Masson, 2012, 38 (1), pp.1-9. ⟨10.1016/j.encep.2011.04.005⟩. ⟨hal-01314716⟩

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