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Structure of Health-enhancing Behavior in Adolescence: A Latent-Variable Approach

John E. Donovan, Richard Jessor and Frances M. Costa
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 346-362
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137372
Page Count: 17
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Structure of Health-enhancing Behavior in Adolescence: A Latent-Variable Approach
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Abstract

The structure of the interrelations among a variety of health-enhancing behaviors was examined using structural equation modeling analyses of questionnaire data from 1,280 middle school students and 2,219 high school students. The health-enhancing behaviors included seat belt use, adequate hours of sleep, attention to healthy diet, adequate exercise, low sedentary behavior, and regular toothbrushing. In the middle school sample, all of the health-enhancing behaviors correlated significantly but modestly with each other, except for sleep with toothbrushing. In the high school sample, all but three of the 15 correlations among the behaviors were significant. The results further show that a single underlying factor can account for the modest correlations among these health-enhancing behaviors in both samples. The generality of the single-factor model was also established for male, female, White, Hispanic, and Black students at each school level. These findings provide some support for the existence of health-related lifestyles in adolescence.

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