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1.  Experimenting with cigarettes and physical activity among Mexican origin youth: a cross sectional analysis of the interdependent associations among sensation seeking, acculturation, and gender 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:332.
Sensation seeking tendencies tend to manifest during adolescence and are associated with both health-compromising behaviors and health-enhancing behaviors. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between sensation seeking and physical activity, a health-enhancing behavior, and between sensation seeking and experimenting with cigarettes, a health compromising-behavior, among a cohort of Mexican origin adolescents residing in the United States with different levels of acculturation.
In 2009, 1,154 Mexican origin youth (50.5% girls, mean age 14.3 years (SD = 1.04)) provided data on smoking behavior, physical activity, linguistic acculturation, and sensation seeking. We conducted Pearson’s χ2 tests to examine the associations between categorical demographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, country of birth and parental educational attainment) and both cigarette experimentation and physical activity and Student’s t-tests to examine mean differences on the continuous variables (i.e. sensation seeking subscale) by the behaviors. We examined mean differences in the demographic characteristics, acculturation, and both behaviors for each of the sensation seeking subscales using analysis of variance (ANOVA). To examine relationships between the sensation seeking subscales, gender, and both behaviors, at different levels of acculturation we completed unconditional logistic regression analyses stratified by level of acculturation.
Overall, 23.3% had experimented with cigarettes and 29.0% reported being physically active for at least 60 minutes/day on at least 5 days/week. Experimenting with cigarettes and being physically active were more prevalent among boys than girls. Among girls, higher levels of sensation seeking tendencies were associated with higher levels of acculturation and experimentation with cigarettes, but not with physical activity. Among boys, higher levels of sensation seeking tendencies were associated with higher levels of acculturation, experimenting with cigarettes and being physically active.
Our results suggest that interventions designed to prevent smoking among Mexican origin youth may need to address social aspects associated with acculturation, paying close attention to gendered manifestations of sensation seeking.
PMCID: PMC3441442  PMID: 22559717
Smoking behavior; Physical activity; Acculturation; Sensation seeking; Gender; Mexican origin youth
2.  The influence of linguistic acculturation and parental monitoring on the substance use of Mexican-heritage adolescents in predominantly Mexican enclaves of the Southwest US 
This study presents the results of an assessment of 377 Mexican heritage 7th grade adolescents attending middle school in Arizona. The students answered questions concerning personal substance use, linguistic acculturation and parental monitoring. Linguistic acculturation in general did not predict substance use, while greater perceived parental monitoring significantly predicted a lesser likelihood to use substances for both boys and girls. There was a significant acculturation by parental monitoring interaction for ever use of alcohol for boys, with parent monitoring effects being more pronounced in reducing alcohol use among highly acculturated boys. Results are discussed in terms of how acculturation impacts family processes and the drug use behaviors of Mexican heritage adolescents living in predominantly Mexican enclaves.
PMCID: PMC3477602  PMID: 22931157
3.  The Influence of Linguistic Acculturation and Gender on the Initiation of Substance Use Among Mexican Heritage Preadolescents in the Borderlands 
The Journal of early adolescence  2011;31(2):271-299.
This article examined the impact of linguistic acculturation and gender on the substance use initiation of a sample of 1,473 Mexican heritage preadolescents attending 30 public schools in Phoenix, Arizona. It was hypothesized that linguistic acculturation operates differently as a risk or protective factor for young children than for older youth. The study used discrete-time event history methods to model the rate at which nonusing children initiate substance use. Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and inhalants were studied separately while inhalant use was examined more closely. Results suggested that while linguistic acculturation is a risk factor for Mexican heritage preadolescents, this association depended on gender, the linguistic acculturation context (family, friends, or media), and the type of substance. For inhalants, higher linguistic acculturation with friends was inversely associated with drug initiation both for boys and girls. Implications for preventive science and future intervention research are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3108799  PMID: 21660121
acculturation; bilingual/bicultural; Hispanic/Latino/Latina; substance use/alcohol and drug use
4.  Adolescent body satisfaction: the role of perceived parental encouragement for physical activity 
Parents play an important role in the development of children's health behaviors, but less is known about the role of parental encouragement for physical activity (PA) on youth PA behavior and body image satisfaction. The purposes of this study were to: (1) longitudinally assess whether adolescent PA at age 15 mediates the effect of perceived parental encouragement for PA at age 15 for predicting adolescent body satisfaction at age 16, while controlling for body mass index (BMI), and (2) examine the extent to which adolescent sex moderates this association.
Participants were 379 boys and girls assessed at 15 and 16 years of age, who completed surveys as part of a larger longitudinal study in their health/physical education classes in a school district in Central Pennsylvania. Participants completed measures of their perception of parental encouragement for PA, PA behavior, body satisfaction, and height and weight to calculate BMI at age 15 and 16 (i.e., 10th and 11th grades). Pearson correlations were used to examine the association among the study variables and hierarchical regression analyses were used to predict body satisfaction at age 16.
Perceived encouragement for PA from fathers, but not mothers, at age 15, was significantly associated with adolescent PA at age 15 and body satisfaction scores at age 16. Adolescents reporting higher PA behavior and perceived encouragement for PA from fathers at age 15 had higher body satisfaction scores at age 16. Moreover, adolescent PA at age 15 mediated the association between perceived fathers' encouragement for PA at age 15 and adolescent body satisfaction at age 16, when controlling for BMI. Examining the moderating effect of adolescent sex on this association revealed that adolescent PA no longer mediated the association between perceived encouragement for PA from fathers and adolescent body satisfaction, and sex moderated this association.
These findings suggest that, regardless of adolescent BMI, fathers may play an instrumental role in adolescents' body image satisfaction by positively influencing PA behavior. However, the influence of perceived encouragement for PA from fathers on adolescent body satisfaction and PA behavior may differ for boys and girls.
PMCID: PMC2799384  PMID: 20003215
5.  Use and Appreciation of a Web-Based, Tailored Intervention (E-health4Uth) Combined With Counseling to Promote Adolescents’ Health in Preventive Youth Health Care: Survey and Log-File Analysis 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(1):e3.
Health promotion for adolescents is important in the prevention of mental health problems and health-risk behaviors. We implemented two interventions in a preventive youth health care setting. Adolescents in the E-health4Uth group received Web-based, tailored messages on their health behavior and well-being. Adolescents in the E-health4Uth and counseling group received the same tailored messages, but were subsequently referred to a school nurse for a consultation if they were at risk of mental health problems.
This study evaluated the use and appreciation of these Web-based, tailored messages and additional consultation with a school nurse. Differences in use and appreciation according to demographics (ie, gender, level of education, and ethnicity) of the adolescents were also assessed.
Two youth health care organizations participated in this study and conducted the interventions in 12 secondary schools. In total, 1702 adolescents participated; 533 in the E-health4Uth group, 554 in the E-health4Uth and counseling group, and 615 in the control group (ie, care as usual). Adolescents completed an evaluation questionnaire assessing the use and appreciation of the tailored messages immediately after receiving these messages and at a 4-month follow-up. After the consultation, adolescents and nurses completed an evaluation questionnaire on the use and appreciation of the consultation.
The majority of the adolescents (845/1034, 81.72%) indicated they had read the tailored messages. Most items on the use and appreciation of the tailored messages and the program were scored positive (overall satisfaction on a scale from 1, most-negative, to 10, most-positive: mean 6.70, SD 1.60). In general, adolescents in vocational training, girls, and adolescents of non-Dutch ethnicity, indicated they used the tailored messages more often and appreciated the content of the messages better than adolescents receiving preuniversity education, boys, and adolescents of Dutch ethnicity, respectively (all P<.05). In the E-health4Uth and counseling group, 18.6% (103/553) of the adolescents were referred to a nurse. Adolescents in vocational training and girls were more often referred to a nurse than adolescents receiving preuniversity education (P=.007) and boys (P=.03), respectively. Adolescents and nurses positively evaluated the consultation (overall satisfaction of adolescents: mean 8.07, SD 1.21). Adolescents in vocational training attended the consultation more often (P=.047) and considered the consultation a more valuable addition to the tailored messages than adolescents receiving preuniversity education (P=.034).
The Web-based, tailored messages and additional consultation were used and appreciated positively by adolescents and nurses. The consultation seems a valuable addition to the tailored messages. However, the tailored messages might need further improvement since adolescents did not rate all evaluation items about these messages explicitly positive. As these interventions were already interweaved with the existing practice of the preventive youth health care, they are especially promising for future implementation.
Trial Registration
Netherlands Trial Register Number (NTR): NTR3596; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3906651  PMID: 24394676
adolescents; youth health care; Web-based tailoring; eHealth; Internet; counseling; health care evaluation; health promotion
6.  Correlates of weight status among Norwegian 11-year-olds: The HEIA study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1053.
The underlying mechanisms of overweight and obesity in adolescents are still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate modifiable and non-modifiable correlates of weight status among 1103 Norwegian 11-year-old adolescents in the HEalth in Adolescents (HEIA) study, including demographic factors such as gender and parental education, and behavioral factors such as intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, snacks and breakfast consumption, watching TV and playing computer games, physical activity and sedentary time.
Weight and height were measured objectively, body mass index (BMI) was calculated and International Obesity Task Force cut-offs were used to define weight status. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured by accelerometers. Other behavioral correlates and pubertal status were self-reported by questionnaires. Parental education was reported by the parents on the consent form for their child. Associations were investigated using logistic regressions.
There were gender differences in behavioral correlates of weight status but not for weight status itself. Adolescents with parents in the highest education category had a 46% reduced odds of being overweight compared to adolescents with parents in the lowest education category. Adolescents with parents with medium education had 42% lower odds of being overweight than adolescents with parents with the lowest education category. Level of parental education, breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity were positively associated with being normal weight, and time watching TV was positively associated with being overweight for the total sample. Gender differences were detected; boys had a doubled risk of being overweight for every additional hour of watching TV per week, while for girls there was no association.
The present study showed a social gradient in weight status in 11-year-olds. Both breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity were inversely associated with weight status. No associations were found between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks, playing computer games and weight status. Watching TV was positively associated with weight status for boys but not for girls. Interventions are needed to gain more insight into the correlates of change in weight status.
PMCID: PMC3538064  PMID: 23216675
Overweight; Physical activity; Sedentary time; Parental education; Diet; Children; Adolescents
7.  Association of Acculturation Levels and Prevalence of Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)  
Diabetes Care  2008;31(8):1621-1628.
OBJECTIVE—The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Hispanic and Asian Americans is increasing. These groups are largely comprised of immigrants who may be undergoing behavioral and lifestyle changes associated with development of diabetes. We studied the association between acculturation and diabetes in a population sample of 708 Mexican-origin Hispanics, 547 non–Mexican-origin Hispanics, and 737 Chinese participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Diabetes was defined as fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dl and/or use of antidiabetic medications. An acculturation score was calculated for all participants using nativity, years living in the U.S., and language spoken at home. The score ranged from 0 to 5 (0 = least acculturated and 5 = most acculturated). Relative risk regression was used to estimate the association between acculturation and diabetes.
RESULTS—For non–Mexican-origin Hispanics, the prevalence of diabetes was positively associated with acculturation score, after adjustment for sociodemographics. The prevalence of diabetes was significantly higher among the most acculturated versus the least acculturated non–Mexican-origin Hispanics (prevalence ratio 2.49 [95% CI 1.14−5.44]); the higher the acculturation score is, the higher the prevalence of diabetes (P for trend 0.059). This relationship between acculturation and diabetes was partly attenuated after adjustment for BMI or diet. Diabetes prevalence was not related to acculturation among Chinese or Mexican-origin Hispanics.
CONCLUSIONS—Among non–Mexican-origin Hispanics in MESA, greater acculturation is associated with higher diabetes prevalence. The relation is at least partly mediated by BMI and diet. Acculturation is a factor that should be considered when predictors of diabetes in racial/ethnic groups are examined.
PMCID: PMC2494621  PMID: 18458142
8.  Physical activity behavior and related characteristics of highly-active 8th grade girls 
While girls are generally less physically active than boys, some girls regularly engage in high levels of physical activity (PA); however, very little is known about these girls and how they differ from those who are less physically active. This study examined the PA behavior and related characteristics of highly-active adolescent girls and compared them with those who are less active.
Data from 1,866 8th grade girls from 6 field centers across the U.S. participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) were included in the present analysis. Mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in sociodemographic, anthropometric, psychosocial, and physical activity (accelerometry and self-report) variables between high- and low-active girls; effect sizes were calculated for the differences.
High-active girls were taller, had lower BMIs and body fat, and were less sedentary. High-active girls scored higher on self-efficacy, enjoyment of PA, self-management strategies, outcome-expectancy value, and support from family and friends than low-active girls. Low-active girls participated in more leisure-time and educational sedentary activities than high-active girls. High-active girls participated in more PA classes/lessons outside of school, team sports, and individual sports. They were also more likely to participate in sports in an organized setting in the community or at school than low-active girls.
Health promotion efforts should focus on decreasing the amount of time girls spend in sedentary activities and replacing that time with organized PA opportunities; such efforts should seek to minimize perceived barriers and increase self-efficacy and support for PA.
PMCID: PMC3654081  PMID: 23384978
physical activity; girls; psychosocial; sedentary behavior; sports participation
9.  Substance Use and Sexual Behavior among Recent Hispanic Immigrant Adolescents: Effects of Parent-Adolescent Differential Acculturation and Communication* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2012;125(Suppl 1):S26-S34.
To ascertain the effects of parent-adolescent acculturation gaps, perceived discrimination, and perceived negative context of reception on adolescent cigarette smoking, alcohol use, sexual activity, and sexual risk taking. We used an expanded, multidimensional model of acculturation.
A sample of 302 recently immigrated parent-adolescent dyads (152 from Miami and 150 from Los Angeles) completed measures of acculturation (Hispanic and American practices and identifications, and individualist and collectivist values) and parent-adolescent communication. Adolescents completed measures of recent cigarette smoking, alcohol use, sexual behavior, and sexual risk taking.
Parent-adolescent gaps in American practices and ethnic identity, and perceptions of a negative context of reception, predicted compromised parent-adolescent communication. In Miami only, adolescent-reported communication negatively predicted odds of cigarette smoking, occasions of drunkenness, and number of sexual partners. Also in Miami only, parent-reported communication positively predicted these outcomes, as well as occasions of adolescent binge drinking, drunkenness, number of sexual partners, and odds of unprotected sex. The only significant findings in Los Angeles were protective effects of parent-reported communication on frequency of alcohol use and of binge drinking. Mediational effects emerged only in the Miami sample.
Effects of parent-adolescent acculturation gaps vary across Hispanic groups and receiving contexts. The especially strong parental control in many Mexican families may account for these differences. However, other important differences between Hispanic subgroups and communities of reception could also account for these differences. Prevention efforts might encourage Hispanic youth both to retain their culture of origin and to acquire American culture.
PMCID: PMC3435468  PMID: 22699094
Hispanic; acculturation; discrimination; alcohol use; recent immigrants
10.  Association of breakfast intake with obesity, dietary and physical activity behavior among urban school-aged adolescents in Delhi, India: results of a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:881.
In developed countries, regular breakfast consumption is inversely associated with excess weight and directly associated with better dietary and improved physical activity behaviors. Our objective was to describe the frequency of breakfast consumption among school-going adolescents in Delhi and evaluate its association with overweight and obesity as well as other dietary, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors.
Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Eight schools (Private and Government) of Delhi in the year 2006. Participants: 1814 students from 8th and 10th grades; response rate was 87.2%; 55% were 8th graders, 60% were boys and 52% attended Private schools. Main outcome measures: Body mass index, self-reported breakfast consumption, diet and physical activity related behaviors, and psychosocial factors. Data analysis: Mixed effects regression models were employed, adjusting for age, gender, grade level and school type (SES).
Significantly more Government school (lower SES) students consumed breakfast daily as compared to Private school (higher SES) students (73.8% vs. 66.3%; p<0.01). More 8th graders consumed breakfast daily vs.10th graders (72.3% vs. 67.0%; p<0.05). A dose–response relationship was observed such that overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents who consumed breakfast daily (14.6%) was significantly lower vs. those who only sometimes (15.2%) or never (22.9%) consumed breakfast (p<0.05 for trend). This relationship was statistically significant for boys (15.4 % vs. 16.5% vs. 26.0; p<0.05 for trend) but not for girls. Intake of dairy products, fruits and vegetables was 5.5 (95% CI 2.4-12.5), 1.7 (95% CI 1.1-2.5) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.3-3.5) times higher among those who consumed breakfast daily vs. those who never consumed breakfast. Breakfast consumption was associated with greater physical activity vs. those who never consumed breakfast. Positive values and beliefs about healthy eating; body image satisfaction; and positive peer and parental influence were positively associated with daily breakfast consumption, while depression was negatively associated.
Daily breakfast consumption is associated with less overweight and obesity and with healthier dietary- and physical activity-related behaviors among urban Indian students. Although prospective studies should confirm the present results, intervention programs to prevent or treat childhood obesity in India should consider emphasizing regular breakfast consumption.
PMCID: PMC3549919  PMID: 23075030
Breakfast; Obesity; Adolescent; Diet; Physical activity; Behavior
11.  Mothers of Adolescent Girls: Comparing HIV Positive and HIV Negative Women 
Ethnicity & disease  2010;20(1 0 1):S1-127-30.
HIV+ mothers of adolescent girls can serve as agents of change, particularly when it comes to preventing patterns of behaviors that are inherently dangerous. In order to do so these women need to be able to communicate with their daughters and educate them about risk behaviors, especially those associated with HIV acquisition. The objective is to describe the sociodemographic and risk profile in a sample of mothers of adolescent girls who are HIV+ or HIV negative and analyze differences between them.
A convenience sample was recruited from three sites, the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, the UPR School of Medicine, and the Ponce School of Medicine. Six focus groups, two in each institution, were conducted following Krueger’s methodology with the objective of developing an educational intervention for mothers of adolescent girls. All participants completed two self-administered questionnaires prior to the focus group. A data analysis was performed - descriptive statistics for the sociodemographic measures included frequencies, percents, mean and SD. We used t test and the Fisher’s exact test to analyze differences between groups.
A total of 44 participants were enrolled, with 50% being HIV positive mothers and 50% being HIV negative mothers. The mean age for both groups was similar (41 years). Statistically significant differences (P<.05) were observed among HIV diagnosis and for the following variables: education, working status, income, marital status, age at first intercourse, and illicit drug use.
It is possible that the sociodemographic characteristics of HIV+ women affect their parenting and communication skills. The same factors that may have led to these women being infected by HIV in the first place might in addition be compromising their roles as effective parents.
PMCID: PMC3658465  PMID: 20521400
HIV+ Mothers; Adolescents; Sociodemographic Characteristics; Puerto Rican
12.  Gender Related Differences in Response to “In Favor of Myself” Wellness Program to Enhance Positive Self & Body Image among Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91778.
Physical, neurological and psychological changes are often experienced differently by male and female adolescents. Positive self-esteem, emotional well-being, school achievements, and family connectedness are considered as protective factors against health-compromising behaviors. This study examines the gender differences in respect to the effect of a school-based interactive wellness program – “In Favor of Myself” – on self-image, body image, eating attitudes and behaviors of young adolescents.
Two hundred and ten adolescents (mean age 13.5) participated in the intervention group, 55% were girls and 45% boys. Program consisted of eight 90-minutes structured sessions integrated into a regular school coping skills curriculum. The program focused on self-esteem, self-image, body image, media literacy and cognitive dissonance. The overall impact of the program and the study protocol were previously published.
Overall, there are gender related differences in respect to body image and self-image in young adolescents in response to “In Favor of Myself”. Compared to boys, girls reported at baseline higher self-esteem, being more contingent by appearance, and their self-image was more influenced by popularity, appearance, interpersonal communication and admired people. Furthermore girls presented greater gap between current body figure and perceived ideal figure. Not only were girls more dissatisfied with their body, but they were more active in attempts to become and/or remain “thin”. At program termination, gender × time effect was detected in reduction of self-worth contingent by others, change in importance given to achievements at schools, parents' perceptions, as well as the impact of comparisons to friends and family members on self-image.
Girls exhibited more gains than boys from ‘In Favor of Myself’ which raise the questions about how effective would be the program when delivered in mixed gender groups vs. mono-gender groups.
PMCID: PMC3950257  PMID: 24618996
13.  Intervention effects on physical activity: the HEIA study - a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Although school-based interventions to promote physical activity in adolescents have been suggested in several recent reviews, questions have been raised regarding the effects of the strategies and the methodology applied and for whom the interventions are effective. The aim of the present study was to investigate effects of a school-based intervention program: the HEalth in Adolescents (HEIA) study, on change in physical activity, and furthermore, to explore whether potential effects varied by gender, weight status, initial physical activity level and parental education level.
This was a cluster randomized controlled 20 month intervention study which included 700 11-year-olds. Main outcome-variable was mean count per minute (cpm) derived from ActiGraph accelerometers (Model 7164/GT1M). Weight and height were measured objectively. Adolescents reported their pubertal status in a questionnaire and parents reported their education level on the consent form. Linear mixed models were used to test intervention effects and to account for the clustering effect of sampling by school.
The present study showed an intervention effect on overall physical activity at the level of p = 0.05 with a net effect of 50 cpm increase from baseline to post intervention in favour of the intervention group (95% CI −0.4, 100). Subgroup analyses showed that the effect appeared to be more profound among girls (Est 65 cpm, CI 5, 124, p = 0.03) and among participants in the low-activity group (Est 92 cpm, CI 41, 142, p < 0.001), as compared to boys and participants in the high-activity group, respectively. Furthermore, the intervention affected physical activity among the normal weight group more positively than among the overweight, and participants with parents having 13–16 years of education more positively than participants with parents having either a lower or higher number of years of education. The intervention seemed to succeed in reducing time spent sedentary among girls but not among boys.
A comprehensive but feasible, multi-component school-based intervention can affect physical activity patterns in adolescents by increasing overall physical activity. This intervention effect seemed to be more profound in girls than boys, low-active adolescents compared to high-active adolescents, participants with normal weight compared to the overweight, and for participants with parents of middle education level as opposed to those with high and low education levels, respectively. An implementation of the HEIA intervention components in the school system may have a beneficial effect on public health by increasing overall physical activity among adolescents and possibly among girls and low-active adolescents in particular.
PMCID: PMC3598379  PMID: 23379535
Obesity prevention; Overweight; Accelerometers; Intervention; Children; Adolescents
14.  But I Like PE: Factors Associated With Enjoyment of Physical Education Class in Middle School Girls 
The current study examined associations between physical education (PE) class enjoyment and sociodemographic, personal, and perceived school environment factors among early adolescent girls. Participants included 1,511 sixth-grade girls who completed baseline assessments for the Trial of Activity in Adolescent Girls, with 50% indicating they enjoyed PE class a lot. Variables positively associated with PE class enjoyment included physical activity level, perceived benefits of physical activity, self-efficacy for leisure time physical activity, and perceived school climate for girls' physical activity as influenced by teachers, while body mass index was inversely associated with PE class enjoyment. After adjusting for all variables in the model, PE class enjoyment was significantly greater in Blacks than in Whites. In model testing, with mutual adjustment for all variables, self-efficacy was the strongest correlate of PE class enjoyment, followed by perceived benefits, race/ethnicity, and teacher's support for girls' physical activity, as compared to boys, at school. The overall model explained 11% of the variance in PE class enjoyment. Findings suggest that efforts to enhance girls' self-efficacy and perceived benefits and to provide a supportive PE class environment that promotes gender equality can potentially increase PE class enjoyment among young girls.
PMCID: PMC2430627  PMID: 18431947
adolescents; physical activity; school climate; self-efficacy
15.  Psychometric properties of a culture-adapted Spanish version of AIDA (Assessment of Identity Development in Adolescence) in Mexico 
The construct “identity” was discussed to be integrated as an important criterion for diagnosing personality disorders in DSM-5. According to Kernberg, identity diffusion is one of the relevant underlying structures in terms of personality organization for developing psychopathology, especially borderline personality disorder. Therefore, it would be important to differentiate healthy from pathological development already in adolescence. With the questionnaire termed AIDA (Assessment of Identity Development in Adolescence), a reliable and valid self-rating inventory was introduced by Goth, Foelsch, Schlueter-Mueller, & Schmeck (2012) to assess pathology-related identity development in healthy and disturbed adolescents. To test the usefulness of the questionnaire in Mexico, we contributed to the development of a culture-specific Spanish translation of AIDA and tested the reliability and aspects of validity of the questionnaire in a juvenile Mexican sample.
An adapted Spanish translation of AIDA was developed by an expert panel from Chile, Mexico, and Spain in cooperation with the original authors, focusing on content equivalence and comprehensibility by considering specific idioms, life circumstances, and culture-specific aspects. The psychometric properties of the Spanish version were first tested in Mexico. Participants were 265 students from a state school (N = 110) and private school (N = 155), aged between 12 and 19 years (mean 14.15 years). Of these, 44.9% were boys and 55.1% were girls. Item characteristics were analyzed by several parameters, scale reliability by Cronbach’s Alpha, and systematic effects of gender, age, and socioeconomics by an analysis of variance (ANOVA). We evaluated aspects of criterion validity in a juvenile justice system sample (N = 41) of adolescent boys in conflict with the law who displayed various types of behavioral problems by comparing the AIDA scores of a subgroup with signs for borderline pathology (N = 14) with the scores obtained in the student sample using T-tests.
The psychometric properties of the Spanish version of AIDA proved satisfactory in the Mexican sample for items as well as scales. The reliability coefficients were α = .94 for the total scale “Identity Diffusion”, α = .85 and .92 for the two primary scales “Discontinuity” and “Incoherence”, and between α = .70 and .83 for the subscales. However, some items of the item pool in the Spanish version of AIDA did not meet all criteria for test equivalence and should thus be reformulated, taking the Mexican culture into account. Significant effects for gender and age were found. In line with our theory, the AIDA scores in the domains “Discontinuity” (high effect size) and “Incoherence” (medium effect size) were markedly higher in the delinquent boys than in the student group.
The Spanish version of AIDA can be used in Mexico with satisfying psychometric properties, with only minor adaptions required. Our study contributes to the intercultural applicability of the AIDA instrument using the construct “identity integration vs. diffusion” as it was defined in the AIDA model for diagnostic purposes. Cultural differences, even those present in the various Spanish-speaking countries, should be modeled carefully.
PMCID: PMC3765088  PMID: 23899385
Identity; Questionnaire; Psychometrics; Adolescence; Cultural test adaption; Cross-cultural
16.  Impact of a nurse-directed, coordinated school health program to enhance physical activity behaviors and reduce body mass index among minority children: A parallel-group, randomized control trial 
Underserved children, particularly girls and those in urban communities, do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines (>60 min of daily physical activity), and this behavior can lead to obesity. The school years are known to be a critical period in the life course for shaping attitudes and behaviors. Children look to schools for much of their access to physical activity. Thus, through the provision of appropriate physical activity programs, schools have the power to influence apt physical activity choices, especially for underserved children where disparities in obesity-related outcomes exist.
To evaluate the impact of a nurse directed, coordinated, culturally sensitive, school-based, family-centered lifestyle program on activity behaviors and body mass index. Design, settings and participants: This was a parallel group, randomized controlled trial utilizing a community-based participatory research approach, through a partnership with a University and 5 community schools. Participants included 251 children ages 8–12 from elementary schools in urban, low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, USA.
The intervention included Kids N Fitness©, a 6-week program which met weekly to provide 45 min of structured physical activity and a 45 min nutrition education class for parents and children. Intervention sites also participated in school-wide wellness activities, including health and counseling services, staff professional development in health promotion, parental education newsletters, and wellness policies for the provision of healthy foods at the school. The Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health School Physical Activity and Nutrition Student Questionnaire measured physical activity behavior, including: daily physical activity, participation in team sports, attending physical education class, and TV viewing/computer game playing. Anthropometric measures included height, weight, body mass index, resting blood pressure, and waist circumference. Measures were collected at baseline, completion of the intervention phase (4 months), and 12 months post-intervention.
Significant results for students in the intervention, included for boys decreases in TV viewing; and girls increases in daily physical activity, physical education class attendance, and decreases in body mass index z-scores from baseline to the 12 month follow-up.
Our study shows the value of utilizing nurses to implement a culturally sensitive, coordinated, intervention to decrease disparities in activity and TV viewing among underserved girls and boys.
PMCID: PMC3654538  PMID: 23021318
Community based participatory research; Gender; Health disparities; Obesity in children; Physical activity; School-based interventions
17.  Correlates of susceptibility to smoking among Mexican origin youth residing in Houston, Texas: A cross-sectional analysis 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:337.
Survey data suggest that in Texas Latino youth exhibit higher rates of susceptibility to smoking than youth from other ethnic groups. In this analysis we examined the relationship between susceptibility to smoking and well-known risk factors associated with smoking initiation among a cohort of 11 to 13 year old Mexican origin youth residing in Houston, Texas.
We analyzed cross-sectional survey data from 1,187 participants who reported they had never smoked, even a puff of a cigarette. The survey assessed peer and family social influence, school and neighborhood characteristics, level of family acculturation and socioeconomic status, and attitudes toward smoking. Bivariate associations, Student's t-tests, and logistic regression analysis were used to examine predictors of susceptibility.
Overall, 22.1% of the never-smokers were susceptible to smoking. Boys were more likely to be susceptible than girls (25.6% vs. 18.9%), and susceptible children were slightly older than non-susceptible children (12.1 vs. 11.8 years). In addition, multivariate analyses revealed that positive expectations about smoking exerted the strongest influence on susceptibility status (odds ratio = 4.85). Multivariate analyses further revealed that compared to non-susceptible participants, susceptibles were more likely to report peer influences supportive of smoking, lower subjective social status and more detentions at school, more temptations to try smoking and to have a mother and a brother who smokes.
Our findings suggest that interventions that target positive expectations about smoking may be useful in this population. Furthermore, because youth encounter smoking-initiation risk factors in different social environments, our results underscore the continued need for both family- and school-based primary prevention programs to adequately combat their influence. The results also can be used to inform the development of culturally sensitive programs for Mexican origin youth.
PMCID: PMC2569937  PMID: 18822130
18.  Substance abuse prevalence and its relation to scholastic achievement and sport factors: an analysis among adolescents of the Herzegovina–Neretva Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:274.
Substance abuse among adolescents is a major public health and social problem. However, studies rarely investigate the relationships between substance abuse, educational achievement and sport factors. Substance abuse is an even more significant problem in societies that have experienced trauma, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have had recent wars. The aims of this study were to investigate substance abuse among adolescents in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to study the potential gender-specific relationships between a) sport factors (physical activity/exercise/athletic participation) and substance abuse and b) scholastic achievement and substance abuse.
Our sample consisted of 1,032 adolescents who were 17 to 18 years old (435 boys and 597 girls) and who were in the final grade of high school. These subjects were randomly selected from the territory of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Retrospective testing was performed using an extensive self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire included questions involving topics such as sociodemographic variables, scholastic variables, sport factors, and substance abuse data (smoking habits, drugs consumption and alcohol consumption using the AUDIT questionnaire). Descriptive statistics, frequencies, analyses of the differences and correlational analyses were performed.
Our results found that greater than one-third of the boys and one-fourth of the girls were daily smokers, and almost half of the boys and one-fifth of the girls practiced harmful drinking; other drugs (i.e. heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, etc.) were rarely consumed. Boys dominated in sport factors, whereas girls were more successful in scholastic achievement. Approximately 23% of the boys and 6% of the girls reported that they practiced harmful drinking and smoked simultaneously. Educational failure, which was defined as having one or more negative grades at the end of the last two school years, was identified in 20% of the boys and 9% of the girls. In both genders, substance abuse was negatively correlated with educational achievement, and half of those students who failed educationally reported daily smoking. Among the girls who experienced education failure, 33% were smokers, and 22% practiced harmful drinking. Sport factors were weakly correlated with substance abuse in boys; thus, we could not support the hypothesis that sports are a protective factor against substance abuse among male adolescents. In girls, participation in team sports was related with a higher incidence of smoking, but there was no evidence of sport factors having an influence on the consumption of alcohol.
In this study, the incidence of smoking and the consumption of alcohol were alarmingly high. These findings demonstrate the need for intervention programs to address these issues. These problems are particularly important, considering that substance abuse has a negative impact on educational achievement among boys and girls, and sport factors have not been found to be protective factors against substance abuse.
PMCID: PMC3407773  PMID: 22480230
Substance misuse; Drugs; Physical activity; Education
19.  Food-Related Parenting Practices and Adolescent Weight Status: A Population-Based Study 
Pediatrics  2013;131(5):e1443-e1450.
To examine food-related parenting practices (pressure-to-eat and food restriction) among mothers and fathers of adolescents and associations with adolescent weight status within a large population-based sample of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse parent-adolescent pairs.
Adolescents (N = 2231; 14.4 years old [SD = 2.0]) and their parents (N = 3431) participated in 2 coordinated population-based studies designed to examine factors associated with weight status and weight-related behaviors in adolescents. Adolescents completed anthropometric measurements and surveys at school. Parents (or other caregivers) completed questionnaires via mail or phone.
Findings suggest that the use of controlling food-related parenting practices, including pressure-to-eat and restriction, is common among parents of adolescents. Mean restriction levels were significantly higher among parents of overweight and obese adolescents compared with nonoverweight adolescents. However, levels of pressure-to-eat were significantly higher among nonoverweight adolescents. Results indicate that fathers are more likely than mothers to engage in pressure-to-eat behaviors and boys are more likely than girls to be on the receiving end of parental pressure-to-eat. Parental report of restriction did not differ significantly by parent or adolescent gender. No significant interactions by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status were seen in the relationship between restriction or pressure-to-eat and adolescent weight status.
Given that there is accumulating evidence for the detrimental effects of controlling feeding practices on children’s ability to self-regulate energy intake, these findings suggest that parents should be educated and empowered through anticipatory guidance to encourage moderation rather than overconsumption and emphasize healthful food choices rather than restrictive eating patterns.
PMCID: PMC3639463  PMID: 23610202
parenting; feeding; adolescent obesity; weight status
20.  Intervention for Spanish Overweight Teenagers in Physical Education Lessons 
Physical education is a favourable educational framework for the development of programmes aimed at increasing physical activity in children and thus reducing sedentarism. The progressive increase of overweight students demands global control and follow-up measurement of these behaviours in both in and out of school. The pedometer can be a useful tool in this field. It is easy to use and allow Physical Education (PE) departments to quantify their students' number of steps/day. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a pedometer intervention on body fat and BMI levels in overweight teenagers. Besides, the effects of the programme are analysed according to two other variables: pedometer ownership and gender, distinguishing between out-of-school and school hours, weekdays and weekends. The sample comprises 112 overweight students (49 boys and 63 girls) from 5 secondary schools. Participants were asked to follow a physical activity programme consisting on a minimum of 12000 and 10000 steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. It also allowed them to get up to 2 extra points in their PE marks. Results were measured after 6 weeks of programme application as well as after 6 weeks of retention. Results revealed significantly reduced BMI in the teenagers with their own pedometer (p < 0.05). The difference observed in the number of steps/day between boys (12050) and girls (9566) was significant in all measured time periods (p < 0.05). Besides, both overweight boys and girls were observed to take 1000 steps/day less at weekends than in weekdays. Therefore, it is concluded that the proposal of 12000 and 10000 steps for overweight boys and girls, respectively, accompanied by a reinforcement programme in their final PE marks, seems sufficient to obtain significant BMI reductions. Besides, PE is shown a favourable framework for the proposal of pedometer-impelled weight loss programmes in overweight youth.
Key pointsA programme of 12000 and 10000 steps for overweight boys and girls, respectively with reinforcement in physical education marks, the body mass index improves.Body mass index more reduced was in Spanish adolescent overweight that used their own pedometer.The steps/day between boys (12050) and girls (9566) with overweight was different (p < 0.05).Overweight boys and girls were observed to take 1000 steps/day less at weekends than in weekdays.In physical education is possible to apply a programme of steps in obese youth of secondary education schools.
PMCID: PMC3737870  PMID: 24149205
Pedometer; overweight; school physical education; body mass index; body fat
21.  Socioeconomic Differences in Adolescent Health-Related Behavior Differ by Gender 
Journal of Epidemiology  2013;23(3):211-218.
Many studies of adolescent health-related behaviors have assessed the effects of gender and parental socioeconomic position (SEP) but not their mutual modification. We investigated socioeconomic differences in health-related behaviors among Slovak adolescents and the potential modification of those differences by gender.
Data were collected in 2006 (n = 3547; 49.4% boys; mean [SD] age, 14.3 [0.6] years; response rate, 93.5%). The sample comprised students in the eighth and ninth grades of randomly selected elementary schools in Slovakia. Gender-specific prevalence rates for 9 types of health-related behaviors, including nutritional behavior, physical activity and substance use, were calculated for 3 socioeconomic groups, which were defined by the highest educational level attained by both parents. Gender differences in socioeconomic gradients for health-related behaviors were tested.
Socioeconomic differences were found in nutritional behavior, physical activity, and smoking. Adolescents with lower parental education behaved less healthily. The largest relative socioeconomic difference was no daily vegetable consumption among girls (90.3% of those with high SEP vs 95.2% of those with middle SEP; odds ratio, 2.33). Regarding no daily fruit consumption, differences among girls were 1.51 times and 1.92 times as large as those among boys for children with medium and low SEP, respectively, as compared with those with high SEP.
Socioeconomic differences in health-related behavior were small, especially for nutritional behavior and physical activity. Interventions that aim to improve health-related behaviors among adolescents with lower SEP should focus on these 2 behaviors, particularly on healthy nutrition in girls with low SEP.
PMCID: PMC3700252  PMID: 23604059
gender differences; socioeconomic differences; adolescents; health-related behavior
22.  Repeatability of self-report measures of physical activity, sedentary and travel behaviour in Hong Kong adolescents for the iHealt(H) and IPEN – Adolescent studies 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:142.
Physical activity and sedentary behaviour are important contributors to adolescents’ health. These behaviours may be affected by the school and neighbourhood built environments. However, current evidence on such effects is mainly limited to Western countries. The International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN)–Adolescent study aims to examine associations of the built environment with adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour across five continents.
We report on the repeatability of measures of in-school and out-of school physical activity, plus measures of out-of-school sedentary and travel behaviours adopted by the IPEN – Adolescent study and adapted for Chinese-speaking Hong Kong adolescents participating in the international Healthy environments and active living in teenagers–(Hong Kong) [iHealt(H)] study, which is part of IPEN-Adolescent.
Items gauging in-school physical activity and out-of-school physical activity, and out-of-school sedentary and travel behaviours developed for the IPEN – Adolescent study were translated from English into Chinese, adapted, and pilot tested. Sixty-eight Chinese-speaking 12–17 year old secondary school students (36 boys; 32 girls) residing in areas of Hong Kong differing in transport-related walkability were recruited. They self-completed the survey items twice, 8–16 days apart. Test-retest reliability was assessed for the whole sample and by gender using one-way random effects intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). Test-retest reliability of items with restricted variability was assessed using percentage agreement.
Overall test-retest reliability of items and scales was moderate to excellent (ICC = 0.47–0.92). Items with restricted variability in responses had a high percentage agreement (92%-100%). Test-retest reliability was similar in girls and boys, with the exception of daily hours of homework (reliability higher in girls) and number of school-based sports teams or after-school physical activity classes (reliability higher in boys).
The translated and adapted self-report measures of physical activity, sedentary and travel behaviours used in the iHealt(H) study are sufficiently reliable. Levels of reliability are comparable or slightly higher than those observed for the original measures.
PMCID: PMC4060092  PMID: 24903156
Adolescents; Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Self-reports; Repeatability; Multi-country study; China
23.  Study of Day, Month and Season Pedometer-Determined Variability of Physical Activity of High School Pupils in The Czech Republic 
Long-term day-to-day monitoring of physical activity (PA) has not been undertaken in adolescents despite PA declines rapidly during adolescence. This study monitored the school year-round pedometer-determined PA of pupils attending high school in the Czech Republic. We assessed their PA levels; appraised the school year-round variability of their PA; and, assessed the associations between their PA levels and weekdays/weekends; months; seasons; and physical education (PE) lessons at school. We observed the PA levels of 10 girls and 2 boys (aged 16.0 ± 0.7 years). Each pupil wore an unsealed pedometer (Omron HJ-105) on the right side of the waist continuously for one year, and recorded steps/day and daily behaviour (e.g. after-school PA, PE lesson) into an activity diary. In total, participants recorded step counts for 2,979 person- days (82.0% of a possible 3,628 person-days). We used the Missing Values Analysis EM function of SPSS to estimate step values that were missing from the dataset. The sample’s mean daily step count was 14,727 ± 6,612 steps/day, and repeated ANOVA showed differences in steps/day across the days of the week (p < 0.0001), months (p < 0.0001) and seasons (p < 0.0001). The mean number of steps/day for weekdays (15,733 ± 6,354) was higher (p < 0.0001) than weekends values (12,196 ± 6,574), and was higher for days with PE lesson (17,280 ± 5,988) than for days without PE lesson (15,569 ± 6,318) (p < 0.0001). The total contribution of PE class (90 minutes) to pupils’ daily PA was 10.0% additional steps per PE day. In conclusion, this study contributes to understanding the day-to-day PA variability of adolescent pupils across the school year. Across all months and seasons, pupils achieved notably more steps on weekdays than on weekends; and on PE days than on non-PE days. Research is required to assess these findings for school pupils in other countries.
Key pointsPedometer appears to be suitable for long-term monitoring of physical activity in adolescents.Day of the week, month and season are significant factors in pedometer-determined day-to-day variability of physical activity of adolescent pupils.Across all months and seasons, pupils achieved notably more steps on weekdays than on weekends, with Sunday being the least active day.Regular PE lessons contribute considerably to the total physical activity levels in adolescent pupils. The increase in steps/day on days with PE is relatively constant throughout the school year regardless of month, season and the content of PE lessons.
PMCID: PMC3761714  PMID: 24149645
Day-to-day variability; physical education; adolescents; school year; pedometer
24.  Body weight dissatisfaction and communication with parents among adolescents in 24 countries: international cross-sectional survey 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:52.
Parents have significant influence on behaviors and perceptions surrounding eating, body image and weight in adolescents. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of body weight dissatisfaction, difficulty in communication with the parents and the relationship between communication with parents and adolescents' dissatisfaction with their body weight (dieting or perceived need to diet).
Survey data were collected from adolescents in 24 countries and regions in Europe, Canada, and the USA who participated in the cross-sectional 2001/2002 Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children (HBSC) study. The association between communication with parents and body weight dissatisfaction was examined using binary logistic regression analysis.
Body weight dissatisfaction was highly prevalent and more common among girls than boys, among overweight than non-overweight, and among older adolescents than younger adolescents. Difficulty in talking to father was more common than difficulty in talking to mother in all countries and it was greater among girls than among boys and increased with age. Difficulties in talking to father were associated with weight dissatisfaction among both boys and girls in most countries. Difficulties in talking to mother were rarely associated with body weight dissatisfaction among boys while among girls this association was found in most countries.
The findings suggest that enhanced parent communication might contribute in most countries to less body dissatisfaction in girls and better communication with the father can help avoiding body weight dissatisfaction in boys. Professionals working with adolescents and their families should help adolescents to have a healthy weight and positive body image and promote effective parent – adolescent communication.
PMCID: PMC2645388  PMID: 19200369
25.  Personal values and involvement in problem behaviors among Bahamian early adolescents: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:135.
Few studies, particularly in developing countries, have explored the relationship between adolescents and parental values with adolescent problem behaviors. The objectives of the study are to (1) describe adolescents' personal values, their problem behaviors, and the relationships thereof according to gender and (2) examine the relationship between parental values, adolescent values, and adolescents' problem behaviors among sixth-grade students and one of their parents.
The data used in these analyses were from the baseline assessment of a school-based HIV risk reduction intervention being conducted and evaluated among sixth grade students and one of their parents across 9 elementary schools in The Bahamas. Personal values were measured by the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ). Seven reported problem behaviors were queried from the students, which included physical fight with a friend, drank alcohol, beer, or wine, smoked a cigarette, pushed or carried any drugs, carried a gun, knife, screwdriver or cutlass to use as a weapon, had sex and used marijuana or other illicit drugs over the past 6 months. Multilevel modeling for binary data was performed to estimate the associations between adolescent and parental values and adolescent problem behaviors.
Among 785 students, 47% of the students reported at least one problem behavior. More boys (54%) reported having one or more problem behaviors than girls (41%, p < 0.01). Boys compared to girls expressed a higher level of self-enhancement (means score: 36.5 vs. 35.1; p = 0.03), while girls expressed a higher level of self-transcendence (42.3 vs. 40.7; p = 0.03). The results of multilevel modeling indicates that boys with a higher level of self-enhancement and girls with a higher level of openness to change and a lower level of conservation were more likely to report engagement in problem behaviors. Only two parental values (self-transcendence and conservation) were low or modestly correlated with youth' values (openness to change and self-enhancement). Parental-reported values documented limited association on adolescents' reported values and behaviors.
In designing interventions for reducing adolescents' problem behaviors, it may be important to understand the values associated with specific problem behaviors. Further exploration regarding lack of association between adolescent and parental values and problem behaviors is needed.
PMCID: PMC1924852  PMID: 17605792

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