Adolescent substance use, sexual behavior, and metropolitan status: Is "urban" a risk factor?

Sara B. Levine, Susan M. Coupey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine if urban youth ("metropolitan" status) are at greater risk of engaging in risk behaviors than suburban or rural youth. Methods: We analyzed data on substance use and sexual risk behaviors from the national school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted in 1999, an anonymous questionnaire self-administered by students in grades 9 through 12. The national survey employs a multistage cluster sample to produce a nationally representative sample of high school students. Data were analyzed using SUDAAN software to take into account the sampling model. Results: In 1999, metropolitan status was not a significant determining factor for involvement in risk behaviors. Of the specific risk factors examined in this analysis, there were no significant differences between rural and suburban youth, and these two groups were combined as "nonurban." In subsequent analysis of urban vs. nonurban youth, no significant differences in risk behaviors were found on bivariate or multivariate analyses. Conclusions: This analysis suggests that metropolitan status has little if any association with youth engaging in substance use and sexual risk behaviors. In addition, it appears that urban youth are engaging in these risk behaviors no more frequently than their nonurban counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-355
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Adolescents
  • Risk behaviors
  • Rural
  • Suburban
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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