Psychosocial Predictors of Health Risk Factors in Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Previous research has confirmed the role of problem-behavior theory constructs as predictors of nonconventional behaviors such as adolescent drug abuse. No prospective study, however, has examined this theory's relevance to less extreme nonconventional adolescent behaviors, such as poor health practices. In the present study, an attempt was made to predict an index composed of seven health risk factor items measured in 8th grade from numerous variables measured in 7th grade selected to reflect personality, perceived environment, and behavior systems of problem-behavior theory. In addition, problem-behavior theory was compared in predictive efficacy to a wellness notion. Factor analysis did not support the construct validity of the three systems as measured herein. Instead, resulting empirically derived factors reflected domains labeled “wellness,” “subjective distress,” and “problem behavior.” In addition, linear regression results indicated that constituents of wellness, subjective distress, and problem-behavior domains, as well as the demographic variable of lower socioeconomic status, and taking less care of one's own physical health in 7th grade, were predictors of taking less care of one's physical health the next year. One interpretation of these results is that lack of a sense of wellness may lead one to yield to problem behavior-related social environment influences including participation in poor health practices.

Rights Information

© 1995 Plenum Publishing Corporation