Positive Coping to Buffer Risk-Taking

By Kurtis Chien

Young adults with higher levels of testosterone in their early lives may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unsafe sex, substance abuse, or illegal activities, according to research by Jacinda Dariotis at the University of Cincinnati. The research focused on the relationship between latent trait testosterone, which is a measurement of testosterone, and risky behaviors. An increase in latent trait testosterone was associated with an increase in risky behaviors, even across biological sexes. Dariotis rationalized this by noting that testosterone can mediate behaviors that are considered aggressive or dominant.

However, the same study showed that youth with high testosterone who engaged in sports had better outcomes. These activities were considered positive outlets for the inclinations tied to high levels of testosterone. Playing in team sports, for example, might represent healthy competition. Reading books and practicing mindful yoga were also observed to reduce risky behaviors. Both present positive, healthy coping mechanisms to combat stress, which is one of the factors that may also exacerbate risky behaviors.

Dariotis is currently researching the effects of life stressors on risk-taking, and hopes to apply mindful yoga as a possible treatment method for youth experiencing stress.


University of Cincinnati. "Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171207182527.htm>.