Stressful Life Events and Longitudinal Patterns of Obesity from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Bethany K. Wexler Rainisch, California State University, Northridge
Dawn Upchurch, University of California, Los Angeles

The period of adolescence is a transitional developmental stage. While many individuals traverse this period relatively unscathed, a number suffer from significant health problems as a result of stressful life events (SLE). Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) (N = 9,311), this study examined the effects of SLE during adolescence on longitudinal patterns of obesity during the transition to adulthood, separately for females and males. Weighted bivariate and multivariate multinomial and ordered logistic regression were employed. The number of SLE experienced differed significantly by age, race/ethnicity, nativity status, and family structure. Adolescents who experienced greater numbers of SLE had the highest percentage of becoming and staying obese. However, upon controlling for demographic factors, SLE experienced did not significantly predict longitudinal patterns of obesity. These findings contribute to those within the stress and obesity literature, specifically including the period of the transition to adulthood.

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Presented in Poster Session 4