Cancer Control Research5R29CA073641-05
Kaplan, Celia P.
HEALTH BEHAVIORS AMONG LATINO YOUTH--LONGITUDINAL STUDY
DESCRIPTION: It is well known that cancer is related to lifestyle behaviors such as diet, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and sexual behavior. These health-related behaviors, and the values and beliefs that influence them, are acquired during childhood and adolescence (Jessor et al., 1990) and are heavily influenced by sociocultural, familial, and individual factors. Few studies have examined the development of these lifestyle behaviors among ethnic minority youth, particularly Latinos. This study seeks to understand the processes of initiation and development of cancer-related health-compromising and health-enhancing behaviors among Latino adolescents. Several factors underscore the need for research among this ethnic population: a) the rapid growth of the Latino population in the U.S.; b) the convergence of their cancer morbidity and mortality rates with those of the majority population; c) the increase of cancer risk factors in this group; and d) the lack of research assessing the determinants of health behaviors in this group. This study will conduct a prospective longitudinal survey of Latino adolescents to assess the cultural, personal, and contextual factors associated with the development of health-compromising and health-enhancing behaviors. The investigators will initially survey 450 males and 450 females (aged 12-13) randomly selected from schools in three predominantly Latino communities in Los Angeles County. In addition, they will interview mothers or designated female guardians of the adolescents to gather information regarding family environment, parenting styles, and parents' knowledge, attitudes and practices. Adolescents and mothers or guardians will be interviewed at baseline. Adolescents will then be followed-up at 18 and 36 months to assess the initiation, maintenance and cessation of health-compromising and health- enhancing behaviors. Using this information, this study will address the following specific aims: 1) assess the development and sequencing of health-compromising and health-enhancing behaviors among Latino adolescents; 2)explore the clustering of health-related behaviors wrong Latino adolescents; 3) understand the environmental and individual factors that affect the development of health-related behaviors among Latino adolescents; and 4) based on the information gathered from the parental survey, investigate the direct influence of family circumstances in the development of health-related behaviors among Latino youth.