Objectives: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the preliminary reliability and validity of a set 13 profiles of adolescent health that describe distinct patterns of health and health service requirements on four domains of health.
Methods: Reliability and validity were tested in four ethnically diverse population samples of urban and rural youths aged 11 to 17-years-old in public schools (N = 4,066). The reliability of the classification procedure and construct validity were examined in terms of the predicted and actual distributions of age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and family type. School achievement, medical conditions, and the proportion of youths with a psychiatric disorder also were examined as tests of construct validity.
Results: The classification method was shown to produce consistent results across the four populations in terms of proportions of youths assigned with specific sociodemographic characteristics. Variations in health described by specific profiles showed expected relations to sociodemographic characteristics, family structure, school achievement, medical disorders, and psychiatric disorders.
Conclusions: This taxonomy of health profile-types appears to effectively describe a set of patterns that characterize adolescent health. The profile-types provide a unique and practical method for identifying subgroups having distinct needs for health services, with potential utility for health policy and planning. Such integrative reporting methods are critical for more effective utilization of health status instruments in health resource planning and policy development.