Variations in Healthy Behavior Patterns Across the Transition to Adulthood: A Person-Centered Approach


Tang, Julia C. Y. (2015). Variations in Healthy Behavior Patterns Across the Transition to Adulthood: A Person-Centered Approach.


As healthcare costs rise and health problems once associated with older adulthood begin to emerge at younger ages, it has become increasingly important to identify ways to improve the health of our nation's youth. Applying the life-course perspective to study a subset of participants from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health ( n = 5,522), this study used person- and variable-centered analyses to identify healthy behavior trajectories across the transition to adulthood (TTA) and their demographic correlates. Latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) and latent class growth analysis (LCGA) were used to identify average and sub-trajectories for physical activity, preventive care, and sleep. Dual trajectory analyses (DTA) were used to estimate class combinations across behaviors. In addition, proportions within classes based on demographic information (i.e., ethnicity, sex, and SES) were also examined. LGCM indicated a decline in preventive care during the TTA. LCGA indicated four-class models for each set of healthy behaviors: physical activity classes: Low, High and Decreasing , Young Adult Recovery , Delayed Decline ; preventive care classes: High , High to Low , Low , and Low to High ; sleep: Consistently Average Sleep , High to Average , Low to Average , and Average to Abnormally High Sleep ). Demographic analyses indicated lower SES participants and ethnic minorities were more represented in the High to Low and Low to High preventive care classes, while higher SES and White participants were more represented in the Low and High preventive care classes. African American participants were disproportionately represented in the most problematic Average to Abnormally High Sleep class. Females were most represented in the Low Physical Activity class and least represented in the Young Adult Recovery class. DTA generally indicated expected class combination sizes, though individuals in the Young Adult Recovery class were less represented in the problematically high sleep classes. Results support the value of person-centered analyses for describing developmental changes in healthy behaviors across the TTA and indicate the need to account for heterogeneity in healthy behavior developmental trajectories. Further, results highlight possibility for positive change for lower SES populations.



Psychology Latent class growth analysis Person-oriented Physical activity Preventive care Sleep Transition to adulthood Behavioral psychology Developmental psychology 0384:Behavioral psychology 0620:Developmental psychology


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2015 Last updated - 2015-06-30 First page - n/a

Reference Type



Tang, Julia C. Y.

Series Author(s)

Wray-Lake, Laura Siegel Jason T.

Year Published


Volume Number





The Claremont Graduate University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID