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Socioeconomic Factors and Health Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents

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Objectives : To examine relationships between a wide range of socioeconomic factors, race/ethnicity, and adolescent risk behaviors.

Methods : The Youth Asset Study (N = 1111) was used to examine multivariate relationships between sexual initiation, alcohol use, tobacco use, and drug use and 8 socioeconomic factors.

Results : Socioeconomic factors beyond income and parental education (eg, wealth) were associated with some health behaviors depending upon gender. However, we did not find that a wider range of factors helped us better understand racial/ethnic disparities.

Conclusions : Even the more comprehensive set of socioeconomic factors considered may not accurately capture the underlying construct of adolescent SES.

Keywords: adolescent; ethnicity; health behaviors; race; socioeconomic factors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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