We 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 transition period between adolescence and early adulthood.
First of all, we document a high prevalence of risky behaviours with 1 out of 2 individuals engaging in at least one risky activity by the age 19 with a dramatic increase between age 15 and 19.
Second, we find a pronounced pro-male bias and some differences by area of residence particularly in drinking habits which are more prevalent in urban areas.
Third, we find a negative correlation between early self-esteem and later risky behaviours which is robust to a number of specifications. Further, aspiring to higher education at the age of 15 is correlated to a lower probability of engaging in criminal behaviours at the age of 19. Similarly, aspirations protect girls from risky sexual behaviours.
This study draws on data from Young Lives, an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in 4 countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over 15 years. Young Lives is funded by the UK Department for International Development
This work is also presented in Young Lives working Paper 154
Favara, Marta and Alan Sanchez (2017) Psychosocial competencies and risky behaviours in Peru, in: IZA Journal of Labor & Development 2017 6:3, DOI: 10.1186/s40175-016-0069-3
Psychosocial competencies and risky behaviours in Peru
Published 1 February 2017