OBJECTIVES As possible explanations for risk behaviour in young men past strains, lack of resources, social individualization processes and genderspecific aspects are discussed. For this study the concept of authoritarianism was used as the model for analysis. METHODS 4,235 recruits from the German-speaking part of Switzerland were surveyed with regard to risk behaviours in sexuality, alcohol consumption, suicide tendency, and violence. The predicting variables for non-risk behaviours and for different risk behaviour patterns were identified by means of logistic regression analysis. The main predicting variables included authoritarianism, disposition to discriminate, stressful life events, and personal and social resources. RESULTS The results show that the different aspects of authoritarianism not only influence prejudice and aggression towards dissenters as has been shown in other studies, but risk behaviours in general. Between the aspects of authoritarianism and risk behaviour patterns positive as well as negative correlations were found. CONCLUSION We conclude that there are different types of authoritarian men who differ with regard to risk behaviours.