Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.54(11) > 1042373

Lee: Developmental assets and the reduction of health risk behaviors among Korean adolescents


This study assessed the extent to which developmental assets predict or contribute to the reduction of health risk behaviors among Korean adolescents. The concept of developmental assets was introduced by Benson and his colleagues as building blocks for healthy child and adolescent's development. Their framework of 40 developmental assets encompasses positive external environmental factors and internal personal qualities which strongly influence adolescents' quality of life. We analyzed data from our 'Korean Youth Health Related Behaviors and Developmental Assets Survey.' The survey was based on self-reported questionnaires we distributed to 3,739 grade 9 students at eight schools across two cities in South Korea in 2001. The 40 developmental assets were measured by using 5-point Likert scales, and health risk behaviors were measured in terms of the prevalence or the experience rate. We identified the predictors of each health risk behavior among the 40 developmental assets using multiple logistic regression analyses. We found that the assets of 'restraint', 'positive peer influence', and 'time at home' were commonly the most important predictors associated with decreased reports of most health risk behaviors except depression. 'Self-esteem' was the most important predictor of decreased reports of depression and suicide. Other internal and external developmental assets were identified as important predictors to specific behaviors. We concluded that the positive asset promotion approach would be more effective and important than the risk factor approach in preventing effectively health risk behaviors among adolescents, and that intervention programs should include more comprehensive and adolescent-based strategies to promote adolescents' health and quality of life by a multi-level multi-dimensional approach.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Research framework.
Figure 2
Youth health risk behaviors by gender among Korean youth (n=3,739).
P-value by χ2-test. *P<0.05, **P<0.01, ***P<0.001.
Figure 3
Developmental asset score by asset category and gender among Korean youth.
Developmental assets were measured by using 5-point Likert scales.
P-value by t-test. **P<0.01, ***P<0.001.
Table 1
Sample sociodemographics (n=3,739)
Table 2
Youth health risk behaviors

a)According to the criteria used in YRBSS (CDC, United States) [33].

Table 3
Developmental assets: conceptual definition and reliability of the survey instrument

a)Based on Search Institute's forty developmental assets. From Benson PL. All kids are our kids. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 1997. p. 32-33. Copyright © 1997 John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Reproduced with permission of the publisher [4].

b)No. of items of each developmental asset of the survey instrument which was developed and used in the 'Korean Youth Health Risk Behaviors and Developmental Assets Survey.'

c)For scales including 3 or more items, Cronbach's alpha was used to assess reliability. NA, reliability coefficient not applicable for 1 or 2-item.

Table 4
Developmental asset score by gender among Korean youth

Data are presented as mean (SD) and measured by using 5-point Likert scales.

P-value by t-test. *P<0.05, **P<0.01, ***P<0.001.

Table 5
Major factors predicting health risk behaviors among Korean youtha)

a)Developmental assets contributing more than 1% to the variance explained in each health risk behavior by logistic regression analyses.

b)Gender, region, type of school, family composition were included.

c)Nagelkertke R2

Table 6
Developmental assets contributing to the reduction of health risk behaviorsa) among Korean youth

a)Health risk behaviors (14) including tobacco, alcohol use, dead drunk, other drug use, depression, attempted suicide, sexual activity, school problems, antisocial behavior, violence (2), social isolation at school (2), gambling.

b)The particular developmental asset contributing to the reduction of health risk behaviors among Korean youth.

c)No. of youth health risk behaviors influenced positively by the particular developmental asset.


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