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Adolescent Problem Behavior in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements

Journal of Urban Health, forthcoming article

Adolescent Problem Behavior in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements: Applying Problem Behavior Theory in Sub-Saharan Africa

Robert P. Ndugwa1, Caroline W. Kabiru2, John Cleland1, Donatien Beguy2, Thaddeus Egondi2, Eliya M. Zulu3 and Richard Jessor4

(1) Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
(2) African Population and Health Research Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
(3) African Institute for Development Policy Research and Dialogue, Nairobi, Kenya
(4) Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado, USA

Adolescent involvement in problem behaviors can compromise health, development, and successful transition to adulthood. The present study explores the appropriateness of a particular theoretical framework, Problem Behavior Theory, to account for variation in problem behavior among adolescents in informal settlements around a large, rapidly urbanizing city in sub-Saharan Africa.

Data were collected from samples of never married adolescents of both sexes, aged 12ā€“19, living in two Nairobi slum settlements (Nā€‰=ā€‰1,722). Measures of the theoretical psychosocial protective and risk factor concepts provided a substantial, multi-variate, and explanatory account of adolescent problem behavior variation and demonstrated that protection can also moderate the impact of exposure to risk.

Key protective and risk factors constitute targets for policies and programs to enhance the health and well-being of poor urban adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Categories: Kenya
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