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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2010 Sep;42(3):353-61.

Prospective predictors of premature death: evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

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Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York 11530, USA.


This study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which revealed that 96 of its original Wave I respondents died prior to the collection of the Wave III survey. We compared psychosocial and behavioral characteristics reported at Wave I among those who died and those who lived (n = 16,719) using chi-square tests, t-tests, and logistic regression analyses to determine the most important risk factors for premature death among adolescents and young adults. Results suggested that driving while drunk was the most important risk factor for premature death (adjusted odds ratio = 2.48; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-5.50). The prevalence of driving while drunk was 17.7% among decedents compared with 6.4% among the survivors. Decedents were also significantly more likely to report multiple risk behaviors than survivors. As the current study demonstrates the importance of alcohol use as a contributing factor to the three leading causes of youth deaths, renewed efforts are needed to prevent and reduce alcohol consumption and abuse among this vulnerable population.

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