5064.0 Youth assets, community context, and youth risk behaviors: Findings from the Youth Asset Study (YAS)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM
Youth development programs are based on the belief that protective factors (i.e., youth assets such as family communication, school connectedness, and parental monitoring) prevent youth from engaging in harmful behaviors. Itís also believed that assets may be particularly important for youth living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. To date there is little empirical evidence to indicate that youth assets are causally related to a reduction in risk behaviors and no research has tested the assertion that assets buffer the effects than an adverse community environment may have on youth behavior. The Youth Asset Study (YAS) used a developmental age group approach and a longitudinal study design to assess relationships among youth assets, community factors and youth risk behaviors. Five waves of data were collected annually from randomly-selected households in which youth ( N= 1,111 youth; Mean age= 14.3 + 1.6 years at baseline; 53% female; 39% white, 28% Hispanic, 24% black, 4% Native American) and their parents resided. Seventeen youth assets, 6 community indicators, and numerous risk behaviors were assessed at each wave of the study via in-person interviews of youth and their parents. The assets are analyzed individually and in groups (personal-, family-, and community-level assets). Community factors include the Broken Windows survey which is an objective assessment of the participantsí community environment that was administered by trained observers. Other community factors such as neighborhood cohesiveness, psychological sense of community, and informal social control were assessed via interviews of the parents. The purpose of the session is to present multi-level analyses of the youth asset/community environment/risk behavior associations. Risk behavior outcomes include tobacco use, alcohol use, seatbelt use, fighting and weapon carrying. The session includes a presentation on promising interventions for strengthening youth assets. The presentations will provide practitioners and policymakers with an understanding of youth assets and their potential role in reducing participation in risk behaviors as well as strategies for developing asset-based youth development programs.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe prospective relationships between youth assets and youth risk behaviors and the potential role of the community environment in the asset/risk behavior associations. 2. Discuss the effectiveness of multiple youth assets and their potential to protect youth from numerous risk behaviors. 3. Identify and describe asset-based youth development programming that may decrease youth participation in risk behaviors.
Roy Oman, PhD
Eleni Tolma, MPH, PhD , Sara Vesely, PhD , Cheryl Aspy, PhD and Roy Oman, PhD

8:30 AM
Racial differences in youth violence associated with youth assets, demographics, and neighborhood characteristics: The youth asset study (YAS)
Cheryl Aspy, PhD, Sara Vesely, PhD, Roy Oman, PhD, Eleni Tolma, MPH, PhD and Lindsay Boeckman, MS
9:00 AM
Youth assets, neighborhood characteristics, and seatbelt use by race: The Youth Asset Study (YAS)
Sara Vesely, PhD, Roy Oman, PhD, Cheryl Aspy, PhD, Eleni Tolma, MPH, PhD and Lindsay Boeckman, MS
9:15 AM

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Maternal and Child Health
Endorsed by: Public Health Nursing, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)