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A CRITICAL LOOK AT YOUTH AT RISK: HOW DO WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND HOW DO WE DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH THEM

by HOLLENBECK, JENNIFER B

Abstract (Summary)
Approaching the problem of youth at risk from a historical and social constructionist perspective, I argue in this thesis that the notion of youth risk that guides contemporary efforts to reduce risk is a historical construct that can be understood only in light of a broader analysis of the status of youth in our society. In the United States, the emergence of youth as a distinct category was facilitated by the introduction of compulsory education, restrictions on child labor, and, permeating these changes, new theories of human development. It is with these changes in mind that the notion of "risk" for all adolescents can be understood. In practice, however, some youths are deemed especially at risk. How those youths are identified and placed in intervention programs is the topic of this thesis. In school and out of school youth risk professionals, seventeen in total, in a large mid-western city were interviewed about their experiences with youth at risk. In general, the findings confirm the pervasiveness of the notion that all youths are at some level of risk. Moreover, with few exceptions, youth risk workers are committed to an approach to youth risk that is designed to "fix" individual youths, that is, they view youth risk as an individual attribute. Noteworthy differences between youth risk workers working within or outside the school system include perceptions about the importance of a high school diploma as a risk prevention measure and the role of the larger community in reducing risk.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:youth risk high school social construction

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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