Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Misha S. Lars
At-risk youth is a concept that emerged in education literature in the early 1980s to denote an individual's probability of failure to complete high school and/or actively participate in the labor market. In 2008, the term is used to identify, label, and classify adolescents who are vulnerable to adverse economic and social conditions. The ever-increasing classification of at-risk youths continues to be one of the most significant predictors of antisocial and risky behavior, delinquency, and criminal offending. Extant literature suggests that the concept has evolved over time from a labor market-focused conceptualization of risk to one centered on more broad implications. More specifically, the conceptualization of risk has shifted from one associated with an array of individual costs to one associated with the greater social costs to society. The increased labeling of at-risk youth coupled with the shift in the conceptualization of this population has resulted in the disproportionate classification ...