Online Program

Patterns of risk behaviors among Samoan and Tongan adolescents in California: Results from the Pacific Islander Health Study

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sela V. Panapasa, PhD, Institute for Social Research (ISR), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
David R. Williams, PhD, MPH, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Steven Heeringa, PhD, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
James W. McNally, PhD, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Background/Significance: Little is known about the health of Pacific Islander adolescents in the United States. While some studies such as the NHIS and the CHIS have made inroads in including Asian population in representative surveys, disaggregated data on PI populations continues to lag making the systematic study of PI health impossible.

Objective/Purpose: To provide results from a representative survey of the health of US Samoan and Tongan adolescent respondents and to assess the prevalence and correlates of select risk behaviors.

Methods: The presentation uses the Pacific Islander Health Study, a cross-sectional, face-to-face interview administered in 2012 for a random sample of Samoan and Tongan households from communities in Los Angeles County and San Mateo County, California. From 300 households, a total of 122 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years were interviewed. Pacific Islander health was measured using questionnaire instruments that allow direct comparisons to national and state level surveys, specifically the NHIS and the CHIS. The main outcome measures are cigarette and alcohol use which are seen as risky behaviors for youths. Descriptive statistics and prevalence rates are presented. Bivariate odds ratios are calculated for the likelihood of engaging in risk behaviors.

Results: Participants reported high rates of smoking and drinking when compared to county, state and national populations. Samoan and Tongan ethnic differences are also present.

Discussion/Conclusions: These findings are the first to systematically examine the high rates of risky behavior among US Samoan and Tongan adolescents. The findings emphasize the importance of disaggregated API data to accurately understand and measure the health behaviors of PI adolescents. The findings support the need for relevant interventions.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of API data disaggregation and evidence-based research Describe US Samoan and Tongan adolescent risk behaviors

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on Pacific Islander health disparities and population dynamics. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for robust data collection on small hard-to-reach populations.
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.