US Adolescent Wellness Behaviors Associated with Less Substance Use and Mental Health Problems


We analyzed associations among US adolescent health-promoting behaviors, substance use and mental health problems using data from the latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).

Using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Youth Online portal (https://nccd.cdc.gov/Youthonline/App/Default.aspx), we examined 2017 high school data for the entire country by conducting two sets of cross tabulations.

The first set compared health behaviors, including physical inactivity, eating breakfast and getting adequate sleep and measures of ever and current alcohol, marijuana, e-cigarette and non-medical opioid use (ever use only).

All three measures of health habits were statistically associated with each substance, with less physical inactivity and more breakfast eating and sleep associated with less alcohol, marijuana, e-cigarette and non-medical opioid use.

The second set of analyses compared each of the wellness behaviors with two measures of mental health problems, including feelings of sadness or hopelessness and considered suicide.

Each of the health behaviors were statistically associated with both measures of mental health, with less physical inactivity and more breakfast eating and sleep associated with less alcohol, marijuana, e-cigarette and non-medical opioid use.

Wellness behaviors among US adolescents were interrelated and specifically negatively associated with substance use and mental health problems. 

Want to learn more about co-existing multiple health risks among adolescents and how to develop program content that integrates the prevention of emerging substance use behaviors with wellness promotion? 

Sign up for the following free webinar: “How Prevention Specialists Can Address Multiple Adolescent Health Behaviors.”

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZXD13LY0Qbu-uRBUv2S1BA

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"The opposite of substance use isn't non-use, 
it's wellness!"

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