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Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Jun;164(6):371-6. Epub 2005 Mar 15.

Behaviour evaluation for risk-taking adolescents (BERTA): an easy to use and assess instrument to detect adolescent risky behaviours in a clinical setting.

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Groupe de Recherche sur la Santé des Adolescents, IUMSP, Bugnon 21, 1005, Lausanne, Switzerland.


To create an instrument to be used in an outpatient clinic to detect adolescents prone to risk-taking behaviours. Based on previous research, five identified variables (relationship with parents and teachers, liking going to school, average grades, and level of religiosity) were used to create a screening tool to detect at least one of ten risky behaviours (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis and other illegal drugs use; sexual intercourse and sexual risky behaviour; driving while intoxicated, riding with an intoxicated driver, not always using a seat belt, and not always using a helmet). The instrument was tested using the Barcelona Adolescent Health Survey 1993. A Receiver Operating Characteristics curve was used to find the best cut-off point between high and low risk score. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to detect at least one risky behaviour and for each individual behaviour. In order to assess its predictive value, the analysis was repeated using the Barcelona Adolescent Health Survey 1999. In both cases, analyses were conducted for the whole sample and for younger and older adolescents. Adolescents with a high-risk score were more likely to take at least one risky behaviour both when the whole sample was analysed and by age groups. With very few exceptions, the Behaviour Evaluation for Risk-Taking Adolescents showed significant odds ratios for each individual variable.


The Behaviour Evaluation for Risk-Taking Adolescents has shown its potential as an easy to use instrument to screen for risk-taking behaviours. Future research must aim towards assessing this instrument's predictive value in the clinical setting and it's application to other populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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