225952 Perceived influence of neighborhood quality on adolescent substance use and sexual behavior based on risk proneness scores

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lynn Agre, MPH, PhD , School of Social Work/RUTCOR, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
N. Andrew Peterson, PhD , School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Many studies have examined the neighborhood as a context for promoting pro-social versus deleterious health practices among adolescents. In particular, neighborhood physical conditions have been targeted as milieu for transmitting the contagion of adolescent health risk activity. However, little research explores perceived neighborhood quality and psychosocial health assessments from the adolescent's point of view, in conjunction with risk proneness (sensation seeking) and detrimental health behaviors. Thus, this paper compares ratings of neighborhood quality (using criteria of safety, vandalism and crime) among emerging adults ages 14 to 21 years in the 1998 National Longitudinal Survey on Youth. Teens, who self-identify as high versus moderate versus low sensation seekers, according to risk proneness scores, are partitioned into groups. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) is then applied to investigate the mean differences of low, moderate and high risk proneness scores among adolescents on two outcomes i.e. alcohol use and sexual activity, with covariates of neighborhood quality, perceived closeness between parents and depressive illness symptoms. Self-rated risk proneness, in conjunction with the psycho-social and environmental factors, are assessed by pair-wise comparison to determine significant differences between risk proneness groups. Chi-square tests (p <.01) reveal that those youth who self-report as higher sensation seekers, also rate their neighborhood quality as low, irrespective of urban or rural location. Further, these same youth with higher risk proneness scores are also more likely to drink alcohol more frequently and initiate sexual behavior at a younger age. How adolescent perception influences behavior will be discussed as an intervention strategy.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare and differentiate adolescent psycho-social risk profiles which predict likelihood of combined sexual initiation and alcohol use, applying MANCOVA and discriminant analysis.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conducted all analyses and prepared all written reports, including doctoral dissertation and articles pertaining to this research study.
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.