270422 Black/White differences in Depression, Sensation Seeking and Adolescent Risk Behavior Using Weighted Path Analysis

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lynn Agre, MPH, PhD , RUTCOR-Rutgers Center for Operations Research, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
N. Andrew Peterson, PhD , School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
James Brady, MS , RUTCOR-Rutgers Center for Operations Research, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
Risky behavior patterns established in adolescence into early adulthood have implications for life course trajectory of co-morbid mental and physical conditions in middle and older adulthood. In this sample (n=4,648), mean age 16.7 years, (51.4% male, 48.4% female, 69.9% white, 19.8% black and 7.2% other) discriminant and MANCOVA analyses are initially applied to elucidate profiles of adolescents at higher and lower risk of early substance use and sexual behavior initiation. These methods reveal that younger white males with higher self-esteem, higher mastery, higher depressive symptoms, but poorer parenting and lower quality neighborhoods, have higher self-rated risk proneness scores, indicating they are more likely to engage in conduct detrimental to health (p<.05). Similarly, younger black females with higher self-esteem, lower mastery, lower depression and poorer parenting and lower neighborhood quality also have greater propensity to appraise themselves as risk prone. In the fully saturated weighted path model, the posited relationships between the underlying psychosocial mechanisms, mediated by risk proneness and their effect on health risk behaviors, like alcohol use and sexual risk taking, demonstrate among female adolescents only perceived neighborhood quality has no effect on alcohol use. For African Americans, both neighborhood quality and perceived parental closeness have no relationship with sexual risk taking. Last, the model for white youth shows no path from neighborhood quality to alcohol use. Path analysis, then, does demonstrate, through temporal ordering, that risk proneness(sensation seeking) is a mediator in the sequence to alcohol use and sexual risk taking among both African American and white adolescents.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Distinguish racial/ethnic differences in sensation seeking behavior in relation to health risk decision making. 2. Define sensation seeking as risk proneness and understand relationship with depression in determining disease trajectories.

Keywords: Mental Health, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: all the analysis, research and formulation of the narrative pertaining to this 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.