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NCJ Number: 172948 Find in a Library
Title: Reducing the Risk: Connections That Make a Difference in the Lives of Youth
Journal: Youth Studies Australia  Volume:16  Issue:4  Dated:December 1997  Pages:37-50
Author(s): R Blum; P M Rinehart
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) is the first national study of adolescent health in the United States designed to measure social settings of adolescent lives, ways in which adolescents connect to their social world, and influences of these social settings and connections on health.
Abstract: The Add Health study was undertaken in response to a congressional mandate to obtain information on the health and well-being of adolescents in the United States and on behaviors that promote health or put health at risk. In the first phase of the study, about 90,000 students in grades 7 through 12 who attended 145 schools throughout the United States answered brief questionnaires about their lives that included items on health, friendships, self-esteem, and expectations for the future. In the second phase of the study, over 20,000 in-home interviews were conducted with students. Findings from these interviews indicate most teenagers are doing well and are making choices that protect them from harm. Among teenagers not doing well, findings show emotional distress increases as teenagers get older, with senior high school students reporting higher levels of distress than students in grades 7 and 8. Girls report one-third more emotional distress than boys, and teenagers in rural areas report slightly more emotional distress than their urban and suburban peers. Over 10 percent of males and over 5 percent of females report having committed a violent act during the past year. Just over 1 in 4 adolescents report being a current smoker, fewer teenagers report drinking than smoking, and 25 percent of all young people report having smoked marijuana at least once in their lives. About 17 percent of grade 7 and 8 students and 50 percent of grade 9-12 students report having had sexual intercourse. The home environment makes a difference in the health of young people. When teenagers feel connected to their families and when parents are involved in their children's lives, they experience less emotional distress and are less involved in violent and other forms of unacceptable behavior. Adolescents also stand a better chance of avoiding risky behavior when they experience and express strong connections to their schools. Finally, adolescent attitudes, beliefs, and past experiences have important effects on their emotional health and on choices they make about getting involved in risky behaviors related to violence, drug abuse, and sexual involvement and pregnancy. Further analysis of study data is planned to investigate such areas as sibling influence, peer networks, the role of romantic relationships in the emotional health of adolescents, alcohol availability, single mothers, immigrant children, and religion. 27 figures
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Home environment; Juvenile drug abusers; Juvenile drug use; Juvenile statistics; Longitudinal studies; Marijuana; Parent-Child Relations; Risk taking behavior; Sexual behavior; Social conditions; Students; Tobacco use; United States of America; Violence prevention; Violent juvenile offenders
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