Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in Child Welfare System (YEAR)

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Purpose: To examine rates and patters of health-risk behavior (e.g., sexuality, depression/suicidality, substance use, delinquency) among a national probability of youth active to the child welfare systems, Medicaid, and pediatric experts to collaborate to ensure youth entering foster care receive comprehensive health examinations.

Results: Almost half of the sample (46.3%) endorsed at least one health-risk behavior. On Poisson multivariate regression modeling, factors related to higher rates of health-risk behaviors included older age, female gender, abuse history, deviant peers, limited caregiver monitoring, and poor school engagement.

Conclusion: Given the heightened vulnerability of this population, early screening for health-risk behaviors must be prioritized. Further research should explore specific subpopulations at risk for health-risk behaviors and possible interventions to change these youths’ trajectories.

To view the entire review: Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in the Child Welfare System


Leslie, L.K., James, S., Monn, A., Kauten, M.C., Zhang, J., & Aarons, G. (2010) Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in the Child Welfare System, Journal of Adolescent Health. 47, 26-34

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