Type of Document Thesis Author Esquibel, Monica Adriann Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-01042008-144716 Title Health Communication Campaigns: Targeting Adolescents with Clusters of Health-Compromising Behaviors Degree Master of Arts Department Communication, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Gary R. Heald Committee Chair John K. Mayo Committee Member Stephen D. McDowell Committee Member Keywords
- Health Communication Campaigns
- Audience Segmentation
- Clusters Of Behaviors
- Adolescents Risk Behaviors
Date of Defense 2007-12-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractHistorically the preventable risks affecting morbidity and mortality among adolescents and young adults have largely been thought of as independent behaviors. However, a growing body of evidence has shown that many of these adolescent risk behaviors are often interrelated. Traditionally public health communication campaigns and audience segmentation strategies have been designed to address “individual” unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors among youth in the United States. In recent years, public health researchers have recommended that campaigns should be identifying clusters of behaviors for intervention. This shift requires health campaign professionals to alter communication audience segmentation strategies in order to identify the characteristics of individuals who exhibit combinations of unhealthy lifestyle and risky behaviors.
This study is a secondary analysis examining the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors among adolescents with the objective of developing profiles that can be used in segmentation strategies to help target youth audiences in communication campaigns. Building on previous research, this study focused on seven adolescent health-compromising behaviors simultaneously.
This study identified four meaningful clusters of risky behaviors and health- compromising lifestyles. Three of these clusters contain adolescents reporting above average co-occurring risks. Furthermore, this study used demographic, BMI scores, self-perceptions, and leisure activity measures to profile and predict membership in the four cluster groups.
The results of this study identified a few common re-occurring patterns. Similar to previous research, the findings show that the majority of adolescents in grades 9-12 have low-risk profiles while the highest risk group had the lowest number of adolescents. Gender was found to be an inconsistent measure of membership in the risk profiles. Age predicted group membership in one of the clusters. Race/ethnicity variously predicted membership in the three risk profiles. Number of days missed due to perceived threats predicted membership in two profiles. Health perception predicted membership in all three profiles.
The results of this study support the stance that prevention/intervention efforts can justifiably and meaningfully focus on multiple risk behaviors simultaneously. Differences among the risk profiles are important to note and should be highlighted in prevention/intervention efforts.
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