Decade-long OU study offers insight on risky behavior
A recent study through the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center brings insight about risky behavior during teenage years. Roy Oman and fellow researchers at the OU College of Public Health recently completed the Youth Asset Study, a 10-year research project aimed at learning what assets help teens avoid risky behavior. Risky behavior in teens comes in many forms, including alcohol use, drug use, violence, weapon carrying, gang affiliations. Oman said the study found the most worrisome example of high risk behavior among teens is sexual activity resulting in pregnancy. An analysis of the data found strong associations between certain assets and risk avoidance. The strongest factor of all to avoid teen pregnancy was school connectedness, Oman said. The research also found religion can play a role in avoidance of high risk behaviors. “Religiosity” (strongly held personal religious beliefs) is an asset highly associated with non-initiation of sexual activity. So is investment of time in religious activities, though only for non-Hispanic white youth. Before the Youth Asset Study, most efforts at risk prevention focused solely on the individual teen.