, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 91-100

The Clustering of Risk Behaviors Among Caribbean Youth

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Objective: To examine the relationships among risk behaviors for Caribbean youth; and to determine the correlations between initiation of sexual activity and other risk behaviors. Methods: The associations between cigarette smoking, alcohol and marijuana use, early initiation of sexual intercourse, involvement in violence and delinquency were examined using odds ratios on data from the Caribbean Youth Health Survey (n = 15,695). Survival analysis was then used to determine the association between initiation of sexual activity and the risk behaviors. Findings: There were statistically significant relationships between all pairs of risk behaviors for both male and female adolescents. Even though more males than females had engaged in each of the behaviors, the strengths of association were higher for females. From survival analysis, initiation of sexual activity was associated with gang involvement and weapon carrying among young adolescents and even more risk behaviors among the older adolescents. Conclusion: Health compromising behaviors cluster among Caribbean youth with associations being stronger for females. Initiating sexual activity was a predictor of other risk behaviors with the likelihood increasing among older adolescents and females.