Health Behavior Trajectories over the Transition to Adulthood: Similarity across Behaviors and Social Ties

Rachel Margolis, University of Western Ontario
Jonathan Daw, University of Alabama at Birmingham

During the transition to adulthood, many unhealthy behaviors are developed which in turn shape behaviors, health, and mortality in adulthood. Research on unhealthy behaviors and risky transitions has mostly focused on one health problem at a time. In this paper, we examine variation in health behavior trajectories taken, how similar they are across behaviors, and to what extent these trajectories are shared by siblings and friends in adolescence. We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) Waves 1-4 to chart the most common health behavior trajectories over the transition to adulthood for cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, obesity, and exercise. We examine to what extent health behavior trajectories are similar across the range of behaviors. Last, we examine how similar friends and siblings are in their health behavior trajectories.

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Presented in Session 123: Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Health