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This monograph presents an overview of adolescent health in the United States — the major causes of adolescent morbidity and mortality, barriers to obtaining appropriate or adequate care, and the strengths and weaknesses of prevention and treatment programs aimed at the “new morbidity” (emotional and behavioral problems and their consequences). It argues that adolescents and their problems have received short shrift in the American health care system, making the case that an increasing proportion of adolescent health needs is related to psychosocial and behavioral problems rather than physical disease. It concludes by suggesting several research and policy initiatives aimed at developing the information and resources needed to improve adolescent prospects for well-being. The initiatives range from long-term research on both the common and unique antecedents of high-risk behavior among adolescents to the evaluation of prevention and intervention programs specifically designed for different age groups and different levels of risk for future harm.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

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