Health Concers and Risk Behaviors of Rural Adolescents


Puskar, K. R.; Tusaie-Mumford, K.; Sereika, S.; & Lamb, J. (1999). Health Concers and Risk Behaviors of Rural Adolescents. Journal of Community Health Nursing. vol. 16 (2) pp. 109-119


Although much has been written about the health status of adolescents, little is known about adolescents'perception of their own health. The purpose of this article' is to describe the health concerns of rural adolescents. Two national studies, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health Project), are used as comparisons. Data from the rural survey represent 624 community adolescents attending 4 rural Pennsylvania schools. The students were in the 9th, loth, and 1 lth grades. The Adolescent Health Inventory was used to report concerns related to general health, psychosocial issues, and risk behaviors. Overall, rural adolescents in the study reported an average of 6.5 (SD = 3.2) health concerns with frequencies of occurrence being always or often and reported an average involvement in 1 (SD = 1.3) risk behavior. Psychosocial issues were reported by 28%, and 23% worried about their general health. Frequently reported risk behaviors included alcohol use, drug use, and a lack of exercise. There was minimal concern expressed regarding venereal disease or AIDS, whereas 12% expressed concern about the possibility of pregnancy. These results suggest the likelihood that adolescents perceive health from a holistic perspective and that health promotion programs should consider involving adolescents in planning, both (a) to ensure congruence of the plan of care with adolescents' concerns and (b) to clarify the interpretation and meaning of their concerns. We present implications for the community health nurse.



adolescent health

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Journal Article

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Journal of Community Health Nursing


Puskar, K. R.
Tusaie-Mumford, K.
Sereika, S.
Lamb, J.

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