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Tobacco and Other Drug Use among Foster Care Adolescents in West Virginia

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Objectives: This study presents tobacco and other drug use prevalence data from a statewide health screening program of foster care (FC) children in West Virginia, and explores associations with demographic and placement variables. Methods: Logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index were conducted to determine if placement type and geographic region were associated with tobacco and other drug use among FC adolescents screened in 2012-2013 by the Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT), or HealthCheck WV. Results: One-third of the 12-17 year-olds used tobacco and 24% used other drugs. Results from the logistic regression analyses showed that significant associations between tobacco and drug use and placement variables persisted after controlling for covariates. Adolescents in home placements were significantly less likely to use tobacco (AOR=0.294; 95% CI: 0.196-0.441) or drugs (AOR=0.269; 95%, CI: 0.164-0.443) than those in agency placements. Details of significant regional variations also are presented. Conclusions: This study provides evidence of tobacco and drug use in West Virginia's FC adolescents and highlights a need for appropriate interventions for this vulnerable population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: PhD Candidate, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health Morgantown, WV 2: PhD candidate, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV 3: MS, Epidemiologist, Children with Special Health Care Needs, West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities, Morgantown, WV 4: Assistant Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • 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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