Risky health behavior among adolescents in the childhood cancer survivor study cohort

J Pediatr Psychol. 2012 Jul;37(6):634-46. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss046. Epub 2012 Mar 16.


Objective: To report the prevalence and comparison of cancer-linked health behaviors and identify risk factors associated with unhealthy behavior among adolescent siblings and cancer survivors.

Methods: The Child Health and Illness Profile--Adolescent Edition (CHIP--AE) was completed by 307 survivors and 97 sibling controls 14-20 years of age.

Results: Risky behavior ranged from 0.7% to 35.8% for survivors and 1.0% to 41.2% for siblings. Comparisons of sexual behavior, tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use utilizing continuous data revealed no differences between groups. Categorically, survivors were less likely to report past smokeless tobacco use or current use of beer/wine or binge drinking (p-values range from .01 to .04). Survivors with better mental health were at lower risk for poor behavioral outcomes.

Conclusions: Adolescent survivors engage in risky health behaviors at rates generally equivalent to their siblings. Aggressive health education efforts should be directed toward this high-risk population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Siblings / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Young Adult