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Predictors of Co-Occurring Risk Behavior Trajectories among Economically Disadvantaged African American Youth: Contextual and Individual Factors
  • Published Date:
    Apr 19 2014
  • Source:
    J Adolesc Health. 2014; 55(3):380-387.
Filetype[PDF-881.57 KB]

  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    African American youth, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, evidence high rates of negative outcomes associated with three problem behaviors, conduct problems, risky sexual behavior, and substance use. This study used a contextually-tailored version of Problem Behavior Theory (PBT) to examine predictors of the simultaneous development of problem behaviors in this specific cultural group.


    Socio-contextual and individual variables representing four PBT predictor categories, controls protection, support protection, models risk, and vulnerability risk, were examined as predictors of co-occurring problem behaviors among economically disadvantaged African American adolescents (n = 949). Specifically, the likelihood of following three classes of multiple problem behavior trajectories spanning ages 12 to 18, labeled the “early experimenters,” “increasing high risk-takers,” and “adolescent-limited” classes, as opposed to a “normative” class was examined.


    Among other findings, controls protection in the form of a more stringent household curfew at age 12 was related to a lower likelihood of being in the “early experimenters” and “increasing high risk-takers” classes. Conversely, vulnerability risk manifested as stronger attitudes of violence inevitability was associated with a higher likelihood of being in the “early experimenters” class. However, the PBT category of support protection was not associated with risk trajectory class. More distal neighborhood-level manifestations of PBT categories also did not predict co-occurring behavior problems.


    Guided by an incorporation of contextually-salient processes into PBT, prevention programs aiming to decrease co-occurring problem behaviors among low-income African American adolescents would do well to target both proximal systems and psychological constructs related to perceived security throughout adolescence.

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  • Funding:
    DA018920/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    DA025039/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    CE000191/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R49 CE000191/CE/NCIPC CDC HHS/United States
    R25 MH067127/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
    HD30060/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    DA017428/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    R25 HD045810/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DA018920/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DA017428/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
    R01 DA025039/DA/NIDA NIH HHS/United States
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