Teen survival expectations predict later risk-taking behavior

August 1, 2012

Some young people's expectations that they will not live long, healthy lives may actually foreshadow such outcomes.

New research published August 1 in the open access journal reports that, for American teens, the expectation of death before the age of 35 predicted increased including substance abuse and suicide attempts later in life and a doubling to tripling of in .

The researchers, led by Quynh Nguyen of Northeastern University in Boston, found that one in seven participants in grades 7 to 12 reported perceiving a 50-50 chance or less of surviving to age 35. Upon follow-up interviews over a decade later, the researchers found that low expectations of longevity at young ages predicted increased and suicidal thoughts as well as heavy drinking, smoking, and use of illicit substances later in life relative to their peers who were almost certain they would live to age 35. "The association between early survival expectations and detrimental outcomes suggests that monitoring survival expectations may be useful for identifying at-risk youth," the authors state.

The study compared data collected from 19,000 adolescents in 1994-1995 to follow-up data collected from the same respondents 13-14 years later. The cohort was part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), conducted by the Carolina Population Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health and 23 other federal agencies and foundations.

Explore further: Adolescent expectations of early death predict young adult socioeconomic status

More information: Nguyen QC, Villaveces A, Marshall SW, Hussey JM, Halpern CT, et al. (2012) Adolescent Expectations of Early Death Predict Adult Risk Behaviors. PLoS ONE 7(8): e41905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041905

Related Stories

Adolescent expectations of early death predict young adult socioeconomic status

April 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Adolescents' expectations of an early death can predict their economic futures more than a decade later, according to a new study from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

40 percent of youths attempting suicide make first attempt before high school

November 28, 2011
Thoughts about killing oneself and engaging in suicidal behavior may begin much younger than previously thought. While about one of nine youths attempt suicide by the time they graduate from high school, new findings reveal ...

Preterm birth associated with higher risk of death in early childhood, young adulthood

September 20, 2011
In a study that included more than 600,000 individuals born in Sweden between 1973-1979, those born preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) had a higher risk of death during early childhood and young adulthood than persons ...

Recommended for you

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.