Young people's leisure and risk-taking behaviours: changes in gender patterning in the West of Scotland during the 1990s

Sweeting, H. and West, P. (2003) Young people's leisure and risk-taking behaviours: changes in gender patterning in the West of Scotland during the 1990s. Journal of Youth Studies, 6(4), pp. 391-412. (doi: 10.1080/1367626032000162113)



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Until the 1990s, the literature on youth leisure characterized that of females as home-based, passive and largely absent from male-dominated subcultures. Contrasting with this, over the course of the 1990s, evidence emerged of increasing public visibility, reduced restrictions on activities and relatively greater increases in health-risk behaviours among females, together with suggestions of a domestification of leisure among males This paper uses data from two cohorts of 15 year olds in the same geographical area (the West of Scotland), separated by 12 years (1987 and 1999) to examine changes in the gender patterning of young people's leisure, use of public space and risk taking (as represented by substance use) over this time period. Gender differences in 'street-based' (previously more males) and 'conventional/safe' (previously more females) leisure disappeared over this period while male excesses in watching sports and playing computer games increased. At the same time, female levels of drinking and experience of illicit drugs reached, and those of smoking overtook, their male counterparts. Additional analyses showed that changes in leisure activities over time accounted in part for the changing gender patterns in substance use. The paper discusses how greater public visibility and increased risk-taking behaviours among females have resulted from the lifting of constraints of respectability on young women's life- styles. These changes have been rapid and have significance in both social and health terms.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Sweeting, H., and West, P.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Youth Studies
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2003 Routledge
First Published:First published in Journal of Youth Studies 6(4):391-412
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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