Changes in Risk-Taking Behaviors during the First Year of College in the Northwestern Iran: A Latent Transition Analysis

Soudabeh Marin, Hamid Allahverdipour, Mohammad Hajizadeh, Ali Fakhari, Hossein Ansari, Asghar Mohammadpoorasl


Background: First year of university is a critical life transition period with an increased probability of taking risky behaviors. We aimed to examine the transitions in risky behaviors in the first year of college in the northwestern Iran using latent transition analysis (LTA).

Study design: A longitudinal study.

Methods: A random sample of 1406 freshmen enrolled in three universities in Tabriz City (the capital city of East Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran) were evaluated twice in November 2014 and 2015. A multiple-choice self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on risky behaviors and demographic characteristics of students. LTA was performed to examine the prevalence and changes in risky behaviors (cigarette and hookah smoking, illicit drug use, alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviors) among the students.

Results: The LTA model revealed four interpretable statuses. The prevalence data showed that 77.1%, 12.3%, 8.3% and 2.3% of students were “risk-free”, “tobacco user”, “sexual risk-taker” and “multiple risk-tacker”, respectively in the first assessment. Over the period of one year, 4.2% and 6.1% of risk-free students became tobacco user and sexual risk-takers, respectively, and 22.4% of tobacco user students, transfer to the multiple risk-taker group.

Conclusion: The prevalence of risk-taking behaviors increased during the freshman year. Tobacco smoking was  predispose acquiring more risky behaviors. Probability of transition to the multiple risk-taker group was higher among tobacco users.



Health risk behaviors; Tobacco; Smoking; Substance abuse

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