Adolescent Predictors of Generalized Health Risk in Young Adulthood

A 10-Year Longitudinal Assessment

Published in: Journal of Drug Issues, v. 36, no. 3, Summer 2006, p. 571-596

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Laura M. Bogart, Rebecca L. Collins, Phyllis L. Ellickson, David J. Klein

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The authors conducted a prospective examination of multiple adolescent predictors of generalized health risk in early adulthood. Data were used from 3,392 members of a longitudinal cohort surveyed at ages 13 and 23. A measure of generalized risk was constructed using confirmatory factor analysis to represent shared variance among substance use, sexual risk, and victimization. Multiple regression analysis indicated several robust sociodemographic, behavioral, and environmental early predictors of generalized adult risk, including gender, age, race, not coming from a nuclear family, engaging in smoking and deviant behavior as an adolescent, having poor grades in high school, alcohol and cigarette use by an adult important to the adolescent, and being offered substances as an adolescent. Results support the existence of an underlying risk construct in early adulthood, the importance of early adolescent deviance and substance use exposure in predicting risk, and the use of early comprehensive interventions that prevent several risks simultaneously.

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