Promoting successful transition to adulthood for urban youths: Are risk behaviors associated with career readiness?

Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Vanya Jones, Tina Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article extends what is known about the relationship between adolescent involvement in risk behavior and successful transition to adulthood by examining its influence on career readiness. Having goals and plans for the future has been linked to positive health and educational outcomes. However, there has been less research to understand the key determinants of career readiness. This study explores the association between youth involvement in multiple risk behaviors and career readiness. One hundred twenty-five primarily urban African American youths were asked about their involvement with risk behaviors, including violence, drug, and alcohol use, and their career readiness. Structural equation models were estimated in Mplus 6.0. Controlling for academic achievement, the latent variable for violence involvement was significantly negatively related to career readiness (-.73, p < .05). In contrast, the latent variable for involvement with drugs and alcohol was not significantly related to adolescents' career readiness. This finding supports literature demonstrating that adolescents involved in violence may hold more fatalistic views about their life chances. It supports the importance of interventions for youths involved in violence that help them prepare for their future, perhaps by exposing them to positive role models, opportunities, and careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-153
Number of pages10
JournalSocial work research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent development
  • Educational status
  • Employment
  • Future
  • Risk behavior reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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