Psychosocial Competencies and Risky Behaviours in Peru
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The authors use a unique longitudinal dataset from Peru to investigate the relationship between psychosocial competencies related to the concepts of self-esteem, self-efficacy and aspirations, and a number of risky behaviours at a crucial period of transition between adolescence and early adulthood. First, the researchers document a high prevalence of risky behaviours, with one in two individuals engaging in at least one risky activity by the age of 19, and a dramatic increase between the ages of 15 and 19. Second, the document finds a pronounced pro-male bias and some differences according to area of residence, particularly in the consumption of alcohol, which is more prevalent in urban areas. Third, the report finds a negative correlation (robust to a number of specifications) between early self-esteem and later risky behaviours. Further, aspiring to higher education at the age of 15 is found to be correlated with a lower probability of drinking and of engaging in criminal behaviours at the age of 19. Similarly, such aspirations protect girls from risky sexual behaviours.