Theses Doctoral

Looking At The Whole Child Through Student Health Profiles: A Latent Class Analysis of CDC 2019 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data

Yom, Tiana

The purpose of this research is to discover the extent to which there is a typology of students’ health risk behaviors and to what extent are those typologies associated with academic achievement using the 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) dataset. This is a secondary data analysis study using a national representative sample (n=11,410) of high school students, grades 9 to 12, in the United States. YRBS is a national school-based, paper-based 99-item survey used to assess 121 health-related behaviors among all high school students in the United States and is biennially conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020). While research efforts on health and academic achievement is vastly growing, there is a limited number of studies that are analyzing multiple health-risk behaviors concurrently as well as exploring their potential impacts on educational outcomes.

Furthermore, previous studies have utilized cluster and/ or factor analyses. However, this statistical approach will show how students are clustered into groups and does not provide information such as the probability that a given student is bullied or suicidal. A 3-step Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was conducted to identify and understand the various profiles of students who experienced and/ or were exposed to certain health-risk behaviors. The health-risk behaviors of interest, the latent variables, were school-related violence, physical activity, screen time, and sleep. Using LCA, results show that there are four significantly different typologies, or profiles, of student health-risk behaviors: Level 1 The Most Support Needed (TMSN), Level 2 Suicide Prevention Needed (SPN), Level 3 Coping Mechanism for Bullying Needed (CMBN), Level 4 Least Support Needed (LSN). In tandem, contextual factors such as age, sex, grade level, race and ethnicity were significantly associated with the odds of belonging to some of the groups. This study is connected to longer-term work. Implications of these groupings on school policies, student health outcomes, and building a school-based coordinated health system will be discussed.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Health and Behavior Studies
Thesis Advisors
Rajan, Sonali
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 1, 2021