There is increasing evidence of the interconnection between educational and health outcomes. Unfortunately wide disparities exist by both socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity in educational and vocational success. This study sought to promote urban youths’ career readiness as a way to reduce involvement in risk behaviors. Two hundred primarily African-American youth (ages 14–21) were recruited from a pediatric primary care clinic. Youth randomized to the intervention received three motivational interviewing sessions focused around expectations and planning for the future. Baseline and 6-month follow-up assessments included measures of career readiness and risk behavior involvement (i.e., physical fighting, alcohol and marijuana use). At 6-months, youth randomized to the intervention condition showed increased confidence in their ability to perform the behaviors needed to reach their college/career goals. Additionally, youth randomized to the intervention arm showed decreased fighting behavior (adjusted rate ratio:.27) and marijuana use (adjusted rate ratio:.61). Assisting urban youth in thinking and planning about their future holds promise as a way to reduce their involvement in risk behaviors. This study also demonstrated that motivational interviewing could be used to promote positive behaviors (i.e., career readiness).
- Health and educational disparities
- Positive youth development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Applied Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health