Sociodemographic correlates of selected health risk behaviors in a representative sample of Australian young people

  • Richard O. de Visser
  • Chris E. Rissel
  • Anthony M. A. Smith
  • Juliet Richters


To facilitate the development of interventions to reduce health risk behavior among young people, we designed this study to compare risk behavior among young people and older people, to compare risk behavior profiles between young men and women, and to identify sociodemographic correlates of risk behavior among young people. Computer-assisted telephone interviews with a representative sample of 19,307 Australian men and women (response rate 73.1%) assessed alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, injection drug use, and unprotected intercourse. Respondents aged 16 to 24 reported less healthy behavior than older people. Although men and women aged 16 to 24 had similar profiles of health risk behavior, correlates of these behaviors differed for men and women. There were few consistent sociodemographic correlates of different risk behaviors. The results suggest that young women are now as important a priority as young men for interventions. Young people remain an important target group for health promotion, with nonheterosexual young people a particular high-risk group.

Key words

risk behavior representative sample adolescent young adult 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard O. de Visser
    • 1
  • Chris E. Rissel
    • 2
  • Anthony M. A. Smith
    • 3
  • Juliet Richters
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Central Sydney Area Health Service, and Australian Centre for Health PromotionUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & SocietyLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.National Centre in HIV Social ResearchUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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