Frech, A. (2012). Healthy behavior trajectories between adolescence and young adulthood. Advances in Life Course Research.
, PMCID: PMC3381431
Healthy behaviors including adequate exercise and sleep, eating breakfast, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking or binge drinking inhibit chronic disease. However, little is known about how these behaviors change across life course stages, or the social factors that shape healthy behaviors over time. I use multilevel growth models and waves I–III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 10,775) to evaluate relationships between adolescents’ psychosocial resources, social support, and family of origin characteristics during adolescence and healthy behavior trajectories through young adulthood (ages 13–24). I find that healthy behaviors decline dramatically during the transition to young adulthood. Social support resources, such as school connectedness and support from parents, as well as living with non-smoking parents, are associated with higher levels of healthy behaviors across adolescence and adulthood. Social support from friends is associated with lower engagement in these behaviors, as is living in a single parent family or with a smoking parent during adolescence. Findings indicate that psychosocial, social support, and family of origin resources during adolescence exert a persistent, though generally not cumulative, influence on healthy behavior trajectories through young adulthood.
Advances in Life Course Research