Facts on Risky Behaviors from The Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls, Cathy Schoen, M.S., The Commonwealth Fund, September 1997
Engaging in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs during adolescence can result in unhealthy habits that last through adulthood, as well as posing immediate risks to health. The Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls found that a significant minority of girls is engaging in risky behaviors, and that many of the girls at greatest risk are likely to have poor mental health or to be victims of abuse.
To examine the extent and frequency of risky behaviors among girls in comparison to boys, and to identify which adolescents were most likely to engage in risky behaviors, the survey asked adolescents in grades five through twelve about their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. The survey found that high school girls now engage in risky behaviors at rates comparable with boys, and that girls often engage in multiple risky behaviors.