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Prev Med. 2009 Mar;48(3):291-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.12.013. Epub 2008 Dec 30.

Resilience and patterns of health risk behaviors in California adolescents.

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  • 1University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health, Department of Health Services, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, USA.



Assess whether adolescent health risk behaviors cluster, and whether resiliency factors are associated with observed clusters.


The cross-sectional population-weighted 2003 California Health Interview Survey was used (N=4010). Four gender-specific clusters were based on smoking, alcohol use, low fruit/vegetables consumption, and physical inactivity. Resiliency factors included parental supervision, parental support, role model presence and adolescent mental health. Conditional regression was used to measure the association of individual health risk behaviors and clusters with resiliency factors.


Health risk behaviors clustered as follows: "Salutary Adherents" (no reported health risk behaviors), "Active Snackers" (physically active, low fruit/vegetable consumers), "Sedentary Snackers" (physically inactive, low fruit/vegetable consumers), and "Risk Takers" (smokers, alcohol users, many also physically inactive and low fruit/vegetable consumers). Greater parental supervision was associated with lower odds of being in unhealthful clusters. Among males, having greater parental support reduced odds of being an "Active Snacker" or "Sedentary Snacker." Among females, role model presence reduced odds of being in unhealthful clusters, while depressiveness increased the odds.


Health promoting interventions should address multiple health risk behaviors in an integrated fashion. Gender-specific, ethnically-targeted, family-centered strategies that address parenting, particularly parental supervision would be useful. Addressing depressiveness may be especially important for female adolescents.

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