NOT SURPRISINGLY, participants at the Society for Adolescent Medicine's recent meeting often discussed drug abuse and sexual behaviors and diseases. In the keynote address, Robert Haggarty, MD, president of the William T. Grant Foundation, New York, NY, said there appears to be growing evidence that much of what is labeled "problem behavior" among young people—teen pregnancies, school dropouts, delinquency, and drug abuse—is related to economic difficulties and a resultant pessimistic view of the future.
Some other studies presented at the meeting suggest:
Peer pressure may be overrated, according to Seth Ammerman, MD, a second-year fellow in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Ammerman surveyed 163 adolescents at an urban high school, asking about their motivations for engaging in "high-risk" behavior, such as drug taking, drinking, smoking, and sex. What is most important, Ammerman says, is that only the abstainers (who usually cited health reasons)