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PhD ceremony Mr. L. Pitel: Sociocultural determinants, gender and health-related behaviour in adolescence

When:Mo 25-11-2013 at 16:15
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Mr. L. Pitel

Dissertation: Sociocultural determinants, gender and health-related behaviour in adolescence

Promotor(s): prof. S.A. Reijneveld

Faculty: Medical Sciences

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the health-related behaviours of Slovak adolescents and their socioeconomic position, the degree of urbanisation of their environment and their religiosity.

Adolescents from lower socioeconomic positions tended to have certain unhealthy behaviours (smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutritional behaviour) more frequently than those from the highest socioeconomic position, but the differences were relatively small. In poor fruits and vegetables consumption the socioeconomic differences were larger among girls. The degree of urbanisation was related to health-related behaviour only among girls. The prevalence rates of substance use among girls increased with an increasing degree of urbanisation, while among boys no association was found. Religiosity was inversely associated with unhealthy behaviours regarding substance use, having breakfast, soft drinks consumption, screen-based activities and sexual intercourse. However, no such association was found for physical inactivity, fruits and vegetables consumption, tooth brushing and fighting. Regarding substance use, associations were significantly stronger among girls than among boys.

In conclusion, the associations between sociocultural characteristics and health-related behaviour were particularly strong among girls, among whom the most vulnerable groups were those from bigger cities, those from a low socioeconomic background and those who were non-religious. Among boys, these factors mostly played a less important role, though their associations with health-related behaviours were present in some cases (socioeconomic position in physical inactivity, religiosity in substance use and sexual debut). These results should be considered in the planning of prevention activities and public health policies.