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A Latent Class Analysis of the Co-occurrence of Risk Behaviors among Adolescents

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Objectives: In this study, we examined the co-occurrence of multiple health-risk behaviors to determine whether there are any differences in the pattern of co-occurrence by sex. Methods: We conducted latent class analysis using the national 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data for the overall sample, and separately by sex (N = 13,583). Results: Over half of the sample (53%) belonged to the low risk subgroup (Class 1). Class 2 accounted for 15% of adolescents, and over 40% in this subgroup reported riding with a drunk driver, and 63% reported texting while driving a vehicle. Over 14% belonged to Class 3, which had a higher probability of being depressed and suicidal (81% and 64%, respectively). Class 4 accounted for over 9% of adolescents who reported high probabilities for current cigarette (97%), tobacco (99%), and alcohol use (73%); and over half reported current marijuana use (52%). Class 5 accounted for 8.5% of adolescents identified as high-risk polysubstance users. Analyses showed differences by sex in the pattern of co-occurrences. Conclusion: Several adolescent risk behaviors are interrelated regardless of sex. However, sex differences in the higher probability of depressive symptoms and suicidality among girls highlight the need for interventions that consider the demographic composition of adolescents.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; ALCOHOL; DEPRESSION; LATENT CLASS ANALYSIS; PROBLEM BEHAVIOR; YRBS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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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