Why do young people do such risky things?
There are many reasons, obviously, but I found this one to be novel and interesting — young people think happiness declines with age so they live it up:
Using data from a 2007 survey in Northern Ireland (representative sample, N = 1036), we replicate and extend the US-based findings of Lacey et al. (Journal of Happiness Studies 7:167–182, 2006). Consistent with Lacey et al., we find that young people mispredict happiness levels in old age, believing—wrongly—that happiness declines with age. We explore the possible implications of this under-estimation of happiness in old age for the risky health behaviours of young people. We find that young male binge drinkers are particularly prone to thinking that happiness declines with age.
Source: “Mispredicting Happiness Across the Adult Lifespan: Implications for the Risky Health Behaviour of Young People” from Journal of Happiness Studies