Is the Stereotype of Males Engaging In More Risk Taking Behaviours Compared to Females True ? – Research Proposal:


Engaging in risks behaviours are just another part of our daily routine. Sure we aren’t all jumping out of planes everyday, but the newfound search for moments of ecstasy to excite our lives become apparent each day we make a risky decision. Although these risks may look exciting and harmless, they can have serious negative effects on the health and wellbeing of all individuals. Weighting up both genders, males are often stereotyped to been known for partaking in more risk behaviours compared to females.

But why? Why does this statement target one specific gender?

After analysing this controversial statement, my project will focus on determining its accuracy, along with creating a better understanding on attributes that create an individual to preform more risks. The research collected will benefit health promotion teams within the health system. As this issue effects all aspects on an individuals wellbeing, this data provides these group with information on areas needed specific funding, assisting in the reduction of negative health rates, as result from the engagement of these risks effects both physical and emotional health.

However before conducting research for this project, my hypothesis when referring at the outcome for this statement looks at testosterone being the major contributor for males engaging in more risk behaviours.

As the term ‘risk-taking’ is often misinterpreted, when commencing research, we must first understand the area of study so ethical responses can be discovered. Matthew Tull, PhD defines risk taking as “the tendency to engage in behaviours that have the potential to be harmful or dangerous” (2011). As well as Neuroscientist, Professor Stephen Wood from the University of Melbourne stating it “provides an individual with the opportunity for some kind of outcome that could be perceived as positive or negative” (2009, pg. 20). What is evident between both of these definitions is they both suggest that risk taking effects our decisions and lifestyles. Throughout this project it’s important to look at various opinions within this the area of study as it creates a better understanding of what this topic involves as well as how it effects individuals as a whole.

Wood highlights that throughout society today “individuals are becoming more interested in taking part in risky behaviours”.  When researching the topic topic of ‘risk-taking’, factors contributing to an individual decisions are important to consider before coming to a definite verdict. In this case, studies have shown that the male hormone of testosterone has an immense effect on the rate of males engaging in more ‘risks’ compared to females, hinting to my hypothesis being accurate. The factor of peer pressure and negative influences will also be a major issue discussed within this project. With Wood stating that “a surge of hormones in puberty tend to make teenagers more emotionally reactive, as the relationship with peers becomes more important”, suggesting individuals and surrounding influences place a huge roll in an individual’s rate of engaging in risks. As many idolize recognized people within the media. Due to there are influence on individuals, negative media influences will also be discussed throughout the project, as this factor contributes to the degree of risks and individual may choose to engage in, for example the latest Mitchell Pearce scandal.

Beliefs and religion play a major roll in the effect of risk taking within an individual. Through various sets of rules associated to maintain certain beliefs, the idea of a ‘risk barrier’ for these particular individuals should be discussed within this project.  An example of this can refer individuals that follow Muslim faiths. As these individuals are less likely to consume alcohol due to cultural beliefs, this therefore leads to positive health benefits, whereas individuals who consume immense amounts of alcohol more frequently are at risk for higher health issues.  Doctor Elizabeth McAnarney, University of Rochester states “factors such as self esteem, being connected to family and school, and having a set of beliefs all help to protect the emotional health of adolescents, creating a break from these risk behaviours”. McAnareys argument of emotional health touches on the female factor of the hormone estrogens, as this allows them to have stronger connections with their emotions. McAnareys evidence suggests that females are less likely to engage risky behaviours, creating them to be more aware of repercussions due to these hormones and their effects, hence forming why this stereotype may have come about.

Although there are many risks that can be touched on through for this topic, the raise in alcohol consumption within younger individuals is becoming more frequent within our culture.  It’s important to focus on specific examples throughout this project as it helps to strengthen arguments and create better understandings on why this stereotype focuses on one specific gender. The 2005 ‘Australian School Student Alcohol and Drug Survey’ reported that there are 10% of teenagers who drink weekly. For males 29% aged 12 to 17 consumed over 7 or more drinks on more than one occasion, and 32% of females only concerned 5 or more drinks on one occasion. When looking at the factor of physical health throughout this project, research shows that individuals who are shown to be partaking in these behaviors at younger ages put’s them at a higher risks of health issues, creating more problems for health systems, leading to loss in funding, highlighting the positive benefits this collection of data will have on health promotion.

The implementation of various methodologies throughout this project will help to ensure the research conducted for this topic is ethical and accurate. As this project also focuses on comparing genders, whilst conducting research for this topic it was critical that the same amount of individuals from each gender were represented, creating ethical research. The group of 15-22 year olds were targeted due to there relevance within this issue as they are effect by these risk behaviours. The use of primary data through surveys and interviews will also be conducted throughout this project, through the method of systematic sampling. I hoping that this data will address and highlight the key motives that drives an individual to engage in risks as well as identifying if this stereotype targeting the male gender is accurate.


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  2. Smith, D. (2009, March 26) Careful- Teenage Brain On Board. The Sydney Morning Hearld. P.20.
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