Article| Volume 24, ISSUE 1, P25-33, January 2010

The Relationship of Perception of Invincibility, Demographics, and Risk Behaviors in Adolescents of Military Parents



      The purpose of this research was to determine relationships among perceived invincibility, demographic variables, and risk behaviors in adolescents of active duty and retired military personnel.


      An instrument titled the Adolescent Invincibility Tool (AIT) was constructed and administered to a group of 125 adolescents of military parents. Correlation statistics were analyzed to determine variable relationships.


      The AIT demonstrated reliability (Cronbach's α .88) in measuring invincibility in this sample. Participant characteristics and demographics were examined and revealed age, sex, ethnicity, and relocation frequency differences in relationship to the teen's level of perceived invincibility. Family relocation frequency and parent ranking/rating were significant variables for a military population. A significant positive relationship was identified between aggressive, delinquent behavior and invincibility; a negative correlation was demonstrated between worry and invincibility.


      This study provided an opportunity to learn about unique influences related to being the teen of an active duty or retired military parent(s). Study findings indicate significant differences between military teens and national surveys in regard to risk taking and mental health indicators. Risk behaviors were found to occur at a lower frequency than the nationwide average, while depression occurred more frequently in this sample of military adolescents. Variations among teens of military parents in invincibility and worry scores provide direction for further study.

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      Mary Wickman, Director, Pre-Licensure Programs, Department of Nursing, California State University, Fullerton, CA.


      Cindy Greenberg, Chair, Department of Nursing, California State University, Fullerton, CA.


      Denise Boren, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, California State University, San Marcos, CA.