INTRODUCTION: Adolescence is a period of rapid personal development in which health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of social problems, morbidity, and mortality among youth and adults are often established.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the health risk behaviors of Anatolian university students.
METHODS: Differences according to gender and socioeconomic status in risk behaviors regarding use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal substances; sexual activity; and physical activity were analyzed. Students from Kirikkale University (1060) were enrolled. The students' privacy was protected by allowing for anonymous and voluntary participation.
RESULTS: Mean age of the 684 male (64.5%) and 376 female (35.5%) students was 20.3 years (minimum: 17; maximum: 30 years). of all the students, 876 (82.9%) had some kind of information about sexuality; however, this number dropped to 546 students (51.5%) within the context of adequacy. Also, 25.3% of all the students had had some kind of sexual intercourse, and only 53.9% used protection during intercourse. Tobacco usage was 35.1% among those in the group, and 8.7% of the male and 3.6% of the female students were using illegal substances. Thirty percent of all the students reported having weight problems. The majority of students had witnessed violence (eg, 32.7% from parents, 77.2% from their friends, and 76.2% at school).
CONCLUSIONS: Risk-taking behaviors are considerably common among Turkish university students, and family characteristics have significant effects.
Submitted by Selda Fatma Hizel Bulbul
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics