|Teens’ expectations of early death predict risk-taking behavior in early adulthood|
|August 02, 2012|
Young people who once reported thinking they had a 50 percent or less chance of surviving to age 35 are more likely to engage in risky behavior later in life than their more hopeful peers, according to a new study from researchers at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Quynh Nguyen, PhD, the study's lead author and alumna of the Department of Epidemiology, said that this same group was significantly more likely to report suicide attempts, heavy daily alcohol use, smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day and using illicit substances other than marijuana at least weekly. Death rates were double or triple those of their email@example.com.
The study appeared August 1 in the open access journal, PLOS ONE.
The new research extends previous work by the same group that found expectations of premature death can predict future socioeconomic status. The present findings further reinforce the value of screening for these perceptions in early life, along with other psychosocial characteristics, to help identify youth at risk of adopting harmful behaviors.
"The association between early survival expectations and detrimental outcomes suggests that monitoring survival expectations may be useful for identifying at-risk youth," the authors state.
The study compared data collected from 19,000 adolescents in 1994-1995 to follow-up data collected from the same respondents 13-14 years later. The cohort was part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, conducted by the Carolina Population Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health and 23 other federal agencies and foundations.
Nguyen is a research data analyst at the Institute on Urban Health Research, Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. Co-authors of the study, all from UNC, include Charles Poole, ScD, associate professor, Andres Villaveces, MD, PhD, research assistant professor, Stephen W. Marshall, PhD, professor, all from the Department of Epidemiology; Jon Hussey, PhD, research assistant professor, and Carolyn Tucker Halpern, PhD, professor, both from the Department of Maternal and Child Health.
|Last updated August 06, 2012|