The influence of experiences with serious medical conditions on self-reported health behaviors in older adolescent university students
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The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of experiences with cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease on self-reported health behaviors in older adolescents/young adults, conceptualized as 17 to 24 years of age. This study utilized a developmental perspective to review models of health motivation and prevention. Pertinent models are discussed, such as the Theory of Planned Behavior, models utilizing the concept of locus of control, the Biopsychosocial model, the Contextual/Social- Ecological model, as well as an Integrated Developmental model. The present study sampled university students to examine the impact on health behaviors of knowledge or experience with serious medical conditions. The overall hypothesis, based on the Integrated Developmental model (Cooper & Heffer, in preparation), was that illness experiences or knowledge influences self-report of health behaviors and health locus of control. Participants (n=459) were administered a demographic questionnaire, the Illness Experiences Questionnaire, the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales. Factor analysis was conducted on the YRBS, yielding three factors: Alcohol Use, Smoking Behaviors, and Sexual Activity. The MHLC is also comprised of three subscores: Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance. The research question examined differences on YRBS factors and MHLC scales by several independent variables. MANOVAs were conducted on the three YRBS factors and on the three MHLC scales by several independent variables. Results did not support the hypothesis that experiences with or knowledge of these illnesses are associated with differences in ratings of health behaviors and reported health locus of control.
Cooper, Danielle Louise (2003). The influence of experiences with serious medical conditions on self-reported health behaviors in older adolescent university students. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from