Why boys are not able to understand risk

Psychotherapist Will Courtenay, PhD, explains for parents some of the major reasons why boys are not able to understand the perception of risk
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Why boys are not able to understand risk

One important factor influencing our sons health is the perception of risk, which we can measure. Risk perception is basically a persons chances of experiencing a particular health problem. Boys grow up hearing, consistently, that they are immune to risk. That's continually reinforced that boys are in the media that boys consume. Fast forward to adolescence and we find that boys, in fact, think that they are less at risk than girls for every health problem that we study; when in fact, they are at greater risk, The problem with this is that people who don't think they are vulnerable to risk, don't take precautions with their health. That's exactly what we see with boys. Compared to girls, boys are more likely to engage in all kinds of riskier behaviors. They have riskier driving habits and sexual habits. They have worse diets. They are less likely to wear safety belts or use sun protection. All of these factors contribute to why it is that boys are more likely than boys to get injured and to die. So basically, boys underestimate their actual risk. As parents, we need to help them correct that misperception. That means that we also need to think about our own misperceptions and be aware of or those, because, like our sons, we tend to underestimate their actual risks.

Psychotherapist Will Courtenay, PhD, explains for parents some of the major reasons why boys are not able to understand the perception of risk


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Will Courtenay, PhD


Dr. Will Courtenay, “The Men’s Doc,” is an internationally recognized expert in helping boys, men and fathers, and a psychotherapist, consultant, distinguished author, researcher, keynote speaker, radio host, and consultant to and speaker at schools and universities. His new book is titled Dying To Be Men. The American Psychological Association calls him, “a leading psychologist in the field of masculinity” and Who’s Who in America calls him a “foremost achiever in his field.” As one of the world’s leading innovators in the health of boys and men, he has a documented history of success in shaping and promoting this new field, as well as new perspectives on fatherhood, boyhood, and masculinity. Dr. Courtenay received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has served on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School. He is the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Men's Health. Dr. Courtenay is a powerful, effective voice about boys and men, heard nationally on radio and television – including CNN, Good Morning America, World News, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News – and seen in print – including NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, NPR, Newsweek, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune. Dr. Courtenay is a contributor to Esquire Magazine.

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