207016 Sensation seeking risk profiles of adolescent alcohol use and sexual behavior

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lynn Agre, MPH , School of Social Work, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
N. Andrew Peterson, PhD , School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Based on the Bronfenbrenner Ecological framework and using the 1998 National Longitudinal on Youth Young Adult Survey, this study examines psychosocial and environmental factors among youth ages 14 to 21 years at the individual and familial level that predispose teens to self-identify as high versus low risk. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) is used to investigate the mean differences of low and high risk proneness scores among adolescents on multiple outcomes or dependent variables i.e. alcohol use and sexual activity based on the covariates of neighborhood quality, perceived closeness between parents and depressive illness symptoms. MANCOVA results(n=1379)show significant differences between those teens with high alcohol severity use in past 30 days versus sexual risk taking on all factors except for perceived parental closeness, gender and race. Discriminant analysis was also performed to determine risk group profiles. Findings reveal that those adolescents who perceive themselves as risk prone (high likelihood to engage in sensation) are younger, white males, who report worse perceived parental closeness (low agreement on rules), and rate their neighborhood quality as low. In contrast, those adolescents who view themselves as risk adverse (lower likelihood to engage in sensation seeking) are older African American females, with less depressive symptoms, higher perceived parental closeness, but lower quality neighborhoods. Assessment of risk profiles are discussed in the context of developing targeted interventions and evaluation effectiveness of such program strategies.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Evaluate effects of individual, family and neighborhood quality on adolescent substance use and sexual activity. (2) Explain the relationship of the individual adolescent to the environmental context and how these factors are associated with co-morbid mental and physical health conditions. (3) Describe how depression, sensation seeking, lack of perceived parental closeness (discord on rules) and poorer neighborhood quality are linked to health risk behaviors.

Keywords: Adolescents, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research conducted as part of doctoral work in partial completion of the Ph.D. in Social Work from Rutgers University
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session I
See more of: Mental Health