While not all emerging adults engage in risky behavior, for those who do, there may be a pattern based on family structure, socioeconomic status, and religiosity. The goal of the present study was to investigate gender differences in addictive risk-taking behavior while examining the relation between family structure, socioeconomic status, religiosity and addictive risk-taking behavior in emerging adults. Although many risk-taking behaviors are not addictive in nature, the focus of the present study was of those which are. Addictive risk-taking behaviors, for the purposes of this study, were defined as alcohol use and smoking of cigarettes and e-cigarettes; also known as vaping. Participants filled out a self-report questionnaire measuring alcohol use and smoking habits. Religiosity was considered as a covariate of risky behavior. The Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST) was used to examine alcohol use. The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) was used to measure addiction. The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) was used to assess smoking behavior. The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) was used to measure dimensions of religious involvement and religiosity. The Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (M-C SDS) was used to assess response bias. The Family Affluence Scale II (FAS) was used to measure socioeconomic status. The Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) was used to measure sensation seeking. Analyses of data were conducted utilizing regression analysis, t-tests, ANOVA, and Chi-square tests of association. The results of the study confirmed several of the factors that have been identified in previous research as being related to increased involvement in risk-taking behavior by emerging adults, and identified further gaps in research. The key findings were that males smoke and use e-cigarettes more than females, that males are more likely than females to become problem drinkers, that coming from a single-parent or two-parent household is not significantly related to engaging in risky behaviors, that having a higher socioeconomic status correlates with higher drinking rates, that religiosity does not significantly correlate with engagement in risky behaviors, that sensation seeking is significantly correlated with risky behaviors, and that race/ethnicity is not significantly correlated with risky behaviors. The most unusual findings were those related to the relationship between family structure and engagement in risky behaviors and the correlation between higher SES and higher drinking rates, as they diverged from previous findings in the literature. Overall, the study also yielded a combined model of SES, gender, and family structure that was significantly predictive of both drinking and smoking. The results of the study were not significantly skewed by social desirability. This study has both academic and practical significance in that it can inform prevention and education programs which can target these youths so this population does not engage in addictive risk-taking behaviors such as using alcohol, and cigarettes, further validate the instruments utilized in this study, and add to the body of literature relating to the theory of emerging adults and engagement in addictive risky behavior.
|Advisor:||Tsytsarev, Sergei V.|
|Commitee:||Dill, Charles A., Meller, Paul J., Miller, Norman J., Nouryan, Lola D.|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Public health, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Addiction, Alcohol, Emerging adults, Gender, Risky behavior, Tobacco|
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