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In this highly original work, Robert and Beverley Cairns follow the pathways of 695 young people growing up in the 1980s and 1990s (their educational successes and failures, their friendships, their loves--in short, the events and feelings they experienced in the course of living). The focus of the book is on the primary risks of youth in our time, and lifelines--the avenues by which redirection and help may be provided. The authors consider the specific risks of violence, deviant social groups, school dropout, teenage parenthood, suicide, threats to self-esteem, and substance abuse. Lifelines held out to these youths include parents, friends, teachers, lovers, and relatives. To describe these lifelines and risks the authors draw on contemporary longitudinal studies, cross-national epidemiological statistics, empirical studies conducted by their colleagues and students, and new findings from their own longitudinal studies.