Household Chaos Is A Causal Factor in Adolescent Risky Behavior

Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH Physician, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Instructor, Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist, Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH
Physician, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Instructor, Harvard Medical School
Associate Epidemiologist, Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chatterjee: Substance use, sexual activity and violent behaviors are common during adolescence. Understanding risk factors for these behaviors will improve our ability to prevent them and their sequelae. The Chaos, Hubbub and Order Scale (CHAOS) is a measure of household physical and social disorder, and higher CHAOS score, as reported by parents, has been shown to be correlated with less self-regulatory behavior in children. Thus, CHAOS could be a risk factor for the above behaviors in adolescents. We used data from the RISE study, in which 929 adolescents completed face-to-face and computer-assisted (for sensitive questions) interviews about their health behaviors to analyze the relationship between CHAOS score and risky health behaviors. We found that students with highest CHAOS score, compared to those with zero CHAOS score, had elevated odds for tobacco use (3x), alcohol use (2.5x), any substance use at school (6x) and fighting in the past 12 months (2x).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Chatterjee: Household social and physical disorder is associated with increased odds of risky health behaviors, and while the direction of the relationship is not yet clear, we believe that household chaos precedes and is a causal factor in the initiation of risky health behaviors.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Chatterjee: A longitudinal study exploring the direction of the relationship between CHAOS and risky health behaviors in adolescents would be helpful. Additionally, exploring how interventions might decrease household social and physical disorder might be helpful in preventing risky health behaviors in adolescents, and the consequences of those behaviors.

Citation:

Chaos, Hubbub, and Order Scale and Health Risk Behaviors in Adolescents in Los Angeles

Chatterjee, Avik et al. The Journal of Pediatrics Published Online:September 19, 2015

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.08.043

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Avik Chatterjee, MD, MPH (2015). Household Chaos Is A Causal Factor in Adolescent Risky Behavior