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Description of Study

Principal Investigators: Dr. Bryan Reber, Dr. Hye-Jin Paek, Dr. Ruth Ann W. Lariscy

  • Children in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi rank, respectively, 44th, 42nd, and 50thin the
    US on the high risk health behaviors index. Children in Georgia alone are twice as likely to
    die by age 14 than children living in at least 14 other states.
  • Little is known about how poor and near-poor children deal with various health issues and
    what sources of health information they rely upon.
  • The overall purpose of this study is to understand health socialization processes among
    young adolescents in two Georgia school districts (one rural and one urban).


Research Goals and Design

  • Our first goal is to identify major health concerns and sources of health information among
    young adolescents living in two Georgia school districts with high proportions of both
    African-American and poor and near-poor students.
  • A secondary goal is to compare urban and rural adolescents’ access to health information
    and use of internet and social media as well as traditional broadcast and print sources.
  • Focus groups will be held with urban and rural students. Additionally, we will meet with
    teachers, administrators, community health agents, and some parents to discuss their
    perceptions of the adolescents’ health concerns and information sources.
  • A survey of 7th grade students will be conducted in both urban and rural districts. The
    survey will be developed based on information from the focus groups and secondary
    research as well as guided by several theoretical frameworks including consumer/
    political socialization, primary socialization theory, and a social development model.


What We Hope to Learn

  • What health issues adolescents worry about
  • Are the concerns of adolescents different in rural and urban areas?
  • What are their most used and trusted sources of information? Are social media important
    channels for health information?



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