During the transition to adulthood, many unhealthy behaviors are developed that in turn shape behaviors, health, and mortality in later life. However, research on unhealthy behaviors and risky transitions has mostly focused on one health problem at a time. In this article, we examine variation in health behavior trajectories, how trajectories cluster together, and how the likelihood of experiencing different behavior trajectories varies by sociodemographic characteristics. We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) Waves I to IV to chart the most common health behavior trajectories over the transition to adulthood for cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, and sedentary behavior. We find that health behavior trajectories cluster together in seven joint classes and that sociodemographic factors (including gender, parental education, and race-ethnicity) significantly predict membership in these joint trajectories.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health