Teenagers who engage in risky behavior may do so because they believe they’re going to die young anyway, and may create a self-fulfilling prophecy with that belief, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A study that tracked 20,000 kids in grades 7 through 12 found that 15% thought they would die before the age of 35. That group was seven times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS.
The fatalistic group was also more likely to do drugs, attempt suicide and get into fights that led to serious injuries. A pessimistic outlook was more common among Native American, black, and low-income teens, according to the study.