Youth With Chronic Conditions and Risky Behaviors: An Indirect Path.

TitreYouth With Chronic Conditions and Risky Behaviors: An Indirect Path.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGubelmann, A, Berchtold, A, Barrense-Dias, Y, Akré, C, Newman, CJ, Surís, J-C
JournalThe Journal of adolescent health
Date Published12/2018
Mots-clésChronic condition, Psychological adjustment, Risk behaviors, Youths

PURPOSE: To compare risk behaviors between youths living with a chronic condition (CC) and their healthy peers, controlling for condition severity.

METHODS: Data were drawn from the baseline wave of the GenerationFRee study (students aged 15-24 years in postmandatory education) during the 2014-2015 school year. The sample (N = 5,179) was divided into youths with CC without limitations (N = 536; 10.4%), youths with limitations (N = 114; 2.2%), and a control group (CG; N = 4,529; 87.4%). Groups were compared on internalizing (perceived health status, vision of their future, emotional wellbeing) and externalizing behaviors (substance use, gambling, excessive internet use, disordered eating, violent and antisocial acts) controlling for potential confounders. Statistical analyses were carried out through structural equation modeling. Results are given as unstandardized coefficients.

RESULTS: Overall, CC youths showed an association with internalizing behaviors (coefficient: .78) but not with externalizing behaviors. In fact, the connection with externalizing behaviors was indirect via the internalizing behaviors (.32). CC Youths reporting psychological issues were more likely to adopt every externalizing behavior. Analyzing separately youths with CC limiting daily life activities and those without limitations, the results did not change substantially. However, the association with internalizing behaviors was much higher for those reporting limitations (2.18 vs. .42).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the link between suffering from a CC and adopting risk behaviors is indirect through internalizing behaviors. Health professionals should address emotional wellbeing and perception of the future rather than focus exclusively on the effects of risk behaviors on specific diseases.

Alternate URL

First publication date (online)




Alternate JournalJ Adolesc Health
Citation Key / SERVAL ID9164
Peer reviewRefereed
PubMed ID30254008


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