What’s Stopping Me?
Having some trouble getting there? There could be anything. A place, an event or just a state of mind. Or, maybe you don’t even know where “there” is and the thing that’s stopping you is just not being able to start.
Usually the things that are getting in your way aren’t the things you might think are a problem. In fact, you may think where you’re headed is good, or at least not a problem. But, what if that’s what’s stopping you?
Here is recent research on risk factors that may lead to health risk behaviors during adolescence:
- Adolescents who have been sexually abused are more likely to smoke, drink, use drugs, have disordered eating habits and consider suicide, say researchers at the University of Rochester’s Children’s Hospital.
- Also, girls and boys who reported being sexually abused were significantly more likely to have thought about suicide, to report poor health, to have missed needed health care and to have seen a mental health provider than those who report no abuse.
- Similarly, children who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers. They are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution and commit sexual assault crimes.
- Children who were abused, but did not witness violence between their parents, were six times more likely to engage in risky sex than teenagers from families without violence.
- One study, published in Pediatrics, found that obese boys and girls have significantly lower self-esteem than their non-obese peers, which makes them more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
An article published in the American Journal of Public Health highlighted research that found that:
- Frequently “just hanging out” with friends without a planned activity has been associated with cigarette-smoking and alcohol use, and for males and minority females, involvement in weapon-related violence.
- Having close friends who drink or smoke is a risk factor for those behaviors.
- Friends’ drinking is also related to teens’ risk of being involved in weapon-related violence.
- Having a friend who has attempted suicide is strongly associated with young people’s own risk for suicide.
All of the above are examples of factors that can lead to adolescent health risk behaviors, but are not proven to directly cause risky behavior. Teenagers often are drawn to risky behavior because of peer pressure, oppositional behavior (trying to be the opposite of what their parents are) and feelings of invincibility.
If you detect a problem with your child, here are some things you can do:
- Ask you child what is bothering him or her.
- Don’t ignore the problem, hoping it will go away.
- Find resources through your family doctor, employee assistance program, medical clinic, religious organization or community behavorial health provider.