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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Apr;106:43-52. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.01.023. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

The impact of youth, family, peer and neighborhood risk factors on developmental trajectories of risk involvement from early through middle adolescence.

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Pediatric Prevention Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA. Electronic address:
Office of HIV/AIDS, The Bahamas Ministry of Health, Nassau, The Bahamas.
Pediatric Prevention Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.


Few studies have analyzed the development course beginning in pre-/early adolescence of overall engagement in health-risk behaviors and associated social risk factors that place individuals in different health-risk trajectories through mid-adolescence. The current longitudinal study identified 1276 adolescents in grade six and followed them for three years to investigate their developmental trajectories of risk behaviors and to examine the association of personal and social risk factors with each trajectory. Group-based trajectory modeling was applied to identify distinctive trajectory patterns of risk behaviors. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the effects of the personal and social risk factors on adolescents' trajectories. Three gender-specific behavioral trajectories were identified for males (55.3% low-risk, 37.6% moderate-risk, increasing, and 7.1% high-risk, increasing) and females (41.4% no-risk, 53.4% low-risk, increasing and 5.2% moderate to high-risk, increasing). Sensation-seeking, family, peer, and neighborhood factors at baseline predicted following the moderate-risk, increasing trajectory and the high-risk, increasing trajectory in males; these risk factors predicted following the moderate to high-risk, increasing trajectory in females. The presence of all three social risk factors (high-risk neighborhood, high-risk peers and low parental monitoring) had a dramatic impact on increased probability of being in a high-risk trajectory group. These findings highlight the developmental significance of early personal and social risk factors on subsequent risk behaviors in early to middle adolescence. Future adolescent health behavior promotion interventions might consider offering additional prevention resources to pre- and early adolescent youth who are exposed to multiple contextual risk factors (even in the absence of risk behaviors) or youth who are early-starters of delinquency and substance use behaviors in early adolescence.


Adolescent; Developmental trajectory; Neighborhood risk; Parental monitoring; Peer risk involvement; Risk behaviors; Sensation-seeking; The Bahamas

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