The effect of social capital and socio-demographics on adolescent risk and sexual health behaviours

Smylie, Lisa; Medaglia, Sheri; Maticka-Tyndale, Eleanor
June 2006
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2006, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p95
Academic Journal
Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by heightened potential for risk-taking behaviours that have important Implications for health and well-being. This study uses social capital to understand social influences on adolescent risk-taking in the Canadian context. Using data from the National Population Health Survey (NPHS), the paper contrasts the three most prominent interpretations of social capital by Bourdieu (1985,1990), Coleman (1988,1990), and Putnam (2000) in their association with multiple risk activities. Social capital indicators were significant predictors of risk behaviour among all adolescents; however, they were stronger predictors far males than female Coleman's model, focusing on the family's role In social capital, had the strongest predictive power for males; whereas Putnam's model, focusing on social capital located in group and organizational membership, had the strongest predictive power for females. The findings support the conclusion that social capital is an important explanatory framework to consider when trying to understand adolescent risk behaviours.


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