Journal Article

Health Risk Behaviours of Foreign-Born Adolescents in Singapore: Exploration of Risk Factors in an Asian Context

Hyekyung Choo and Timothy Sim

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 7, pages 2203-2222
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Health Risk Behaviours of Foreign-Born Adolescents in Singapore: Exploration of Risk Factors in an Asian Context

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This study explored the prevalence of health risk behaviours among foreign-born adolescents in Singapore, and the effects of migration-related risk factors on their health risk behaviours in comparison with Singapore-born adolescents. It also assessed whether the risk factors for foreign-born adolescents' health risk behaviours found in Western research are replicated in Singapore as an Asian context. Using a sample of 181 foreign-born and 1,308 Singapore-born adolescents who are nationally representative of Singapore secondary school students, bivariate analyses and logistic regression analyses were conducted. The results showed that foreign-born adolescents in Singapore reported higher prevalence in drinking, using drugs and having sexual intercourse than their local-born counterparts. The effects of feelings of isolation on drug use and peer pressure on sexual intercourse were also found to be stronger for foreign-born adolescents than for Singapore-born adolescents, with no difference in the effect of family conflict on health risk behaviours between the groups. These findings differ from those in Western research literature, suggesting that social work practitioners working with foreign-born adolescents in Singapore or other similar Asian contexts need to be informed not only by Western knowledge, but also by local evidence. Implications for prevention and intervention strategies based on the study findings are discussed.

Keywords: Health risk behaviours; foreign-born adolescents; immigrants; risk factors; Singapore; Asian migration

Journal Article.  7325 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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