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Adolescents' Health-Related Behaviors in the Light of Their Value Orientations

NCJ Number
Substance Use & Misuse Volume: 40 Issue: 6 Dated: 2005 Pages: 735-742
Bettina F. Piko
Date Published
8 pages
Data were collected from a sample of Hungarian high school students (n=602, ages 14-19; 52.8 percent males and 47.2 percent females) in 2001 to examine any link between their health behaviors and their value orientations.
Students' smoking, drinking, drug use, physical activity, and diet control were measured for the past 3 months. Their value orientations were measured by Costa et al.'s (1989) Value of Health Scale. The scale measured the importance to the students of money, health, internal peace, social prestige, friendship, honesty, career development, family, and power. Factor analysis showed support for a general hypothesis that posits a direct relationship between adolescents' value orientations and their health-related behaviors. The fitness-centered value orientation was related to physical activity and diet control but not to avoidance of health-compromising behavior. Health and social-value orientation was dominated by values such as health, friendship, family, honesty, and internal life and was negatively associated with smoking, drinking, and drug use. These findings are consistent with previous research, which has found that adolescents with intrinsic life goals (e.g., self-acceptance, internal-development, friendship, and social relationships) tend to report lower frequencies of health-risk behaviors. On the other hand, accomplishment/career development values may contribute to health-compromising behaviors. Boys tended to score higher on accomplishment/career-oriented values, and girls tended to score higher on health and social values. 3 tables and 17 references