Health-risk behaviors and protective factors among adolescents with mobility impairments and learning and emotional disabilities

Robert W. Blum, Anne Kelly, Marjorie Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify the risk involvement of three groups of young people with disabilities relative to a comparison group: mobility impairments, learning disabilities, and emotional disabilities. Protective factors are explored to identify which individual, family, and school factors are associated with diminished risk. Methods: Analyses are based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of 20,780 seventh- through 12th-grade youth in the United States. Five negative health outcomes were studied: suicide attempts, sexual abuse, regular cigarette smoker, alcohol use, and marijuana use. For bivariate analyses Student's t-test and Chi-square were used, and logistic regressions were performed on all dichotomized dependent variables. Results: For most risk behaviors studied, youth with disabilities were more involved than peers. Factors that predisposed to risk varied little between those with and without disabilities. Likewise, there was substantial consistency between groups as to protective factors. What distinguished each group of young people with disabilities from peers is that they reported significantly more exposure to risk factors and significantly fewer protective factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-490
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Disabilities
  • Protective factors
  • Risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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