Understanding the impact of family dynamics on health has become an environmental health priority in the field of adolescent medicine. Family dynamics are much more complex than they were 60 years ago and so are behavioral outcomes. This transformation in the American family has led towards a large array of adolescent living situations. Rural Kentucky is a prime example of an area with a high rate of nontraditional family composition. Poor family dynamics may be associated with increased rates of high risk behaviors among teenagers. Among these behaviors are drug use, sexual activity, and depression. In this study, we evaluated the impact of parenting situation on teen outcomes by assessing risk taking behavior among sixth to ninth graders in a rural Kentucky area. This study suggests poor family dynamics are positively correlated with high risk behaviors in rural Kentucky among teenagers in the school system. Improvement in the familial environment may decrease the prevalence of high risk behaviors among teenagers.

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Published in Environment and Public Health: Environmental Health, Law and International Perspectives. Leslie Rubin and Joav Merrick, (Eds.). p. 43-50.

© 2015 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

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