Covariation among Health-Related Behaviors

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


There is substantial covariation in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and hard drugs and it has been suggested that different types of drug use are part of a “syndrome” of behavior that may include other health-related and “problem” behaviors. A critical challenge is the determination of the behaviors included within this syndrome and the mapping of the perimeter. In this study, six health-related behaviors (meal regularity, hard drug use, alcohol use, cigarette use, exercise, hours of sleep) were intercorrelated and factor analyzed in both a high school and a college sample. Consistent with previous research, alcohol use, cigarette use, and hard drug use were significantly associated in each of four subsamples (sex by sample) and formed a cohesive drug use factor. The measures of meal regularity, exercise, and hours of sleep were found to lie outside the perimeter of the drug use behaviors, with meal regularity consistently residing closest to the perimeter.

Rights Information

© 1984 Elsevier Ltd.