Next Article in Journal
Dancing with Gravity—Why the Sense of Balance Is (the) Fundamental
Previous Article in Journal
The EFPA Test-Review Model: When Good Intentions Meet a Methodological Thought Disorder
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Link between Mastery and Depression among Black Adolescents; Ethnic and Gender Differences
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/bs8010006

The Relationship between Self-Reported Executive Functioning and Risk-Taking Behavior in Urban Homeless Youth

1
Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., MC 3077, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
3
Department of Psychology, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL 60914, USA
4
Department of Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [248 KB, uploaded 3 January 2018]

Abstract

Introduction: Almost 2 million U.S. youth are estimated to live on the streets, in shelters, or in other types of temporary housing at some point each year. Both their age and living situations make them more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, particularly during adolescence, a time of increased risk taking. Much of self-control appears related to the development of the prefrontal cortex, which is at a particularly crucial period of elaboration and refinement during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Executive processes like decision-making, inhibition, planning, and reasoning may be vulnerable to adversity experienced as a result of homelessness and related impoverishment during childhood and adolescence. No study to date, to our knowledge, has directly investigated differences in risk-taking by homeless youth as it relates to their developing executive control. Objective: Examine the relationship between the level of self-reported executive function (EF) and engagement in risk taking behaviors among a sample of shelter-living urban homeless youth. We predicted that homeless youth who have lower levels of self-reported EF would more readily engage in risky behaviors that could lead to negative outcomes. Participants: One hundred and forty-nine youths between 18 and 22 years of age were recruited from homeless agencies in Chicago. Of this study sample, 53% were female and 76% African American. Measures: All participants completed, as part of a broader neuropsychological assessment, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning-Adult Version (BRIEF-A), the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), and the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Analyses: Groups were separated based on level of self-reported EF, with two groups identified: High self-reported EF fell >1 SD above the normative average, and low self-reported EF fell >1 SD below the normative average. All analyses utilized Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests. Results and Conclusions: Analyses revealed a relationship between the level of self-reported EF and risk taking behaviors in this group of sheltered homeless urban youths. Those with lower self-reported executive functioning had higher rates of engagement in multiple substance-related risk taking behaviors. These findings are important because they are a first step towards identifying contributions to risk-taking behavior in urban homeless youths. Identifying potential factors like low self-reported EF better allows us to potentially intervene, thereby providing focused support to youths who are at higher risk for engaging in problematic behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: homelessness; youth; executive functioning; risk behavior homelessness; youth; executive functioning; risk behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Piche, J.; Kaylegian, J.; Smith, D.; Hunter, S.J. The Relationship between Self-Reported Executive Functioning and Risk-Taking Behavior in Urban Homeless Youth. Behav. Sci. 2018, 8, 6.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Behav. Sci. EISSN 2076-328X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top