Factors associated with health risk behavior among school children in urban Vietnam

Phuong, Tran Bich, Huong, Nguyen Thanh, Tien, Truong Quang, Chi, Hoang Khanh, & Dunne, Michael P. (2013) Factors associated with health risk behavior among school children in urban Vietnam. Global Health Action, 6(18876).

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Health risk behavior among young people is a public health problem in Vietnam. In addition, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for those aged 15–29 years. The consequences can be devastating for adolescents and their families, and can create a significant economic burden on society.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify protective and risk factors that may influence three health risk behaviors among school children: suicidal thinking (ST), drinking alcohol (DA), and underage motorbike driving (MD).


A cross-sectional survey of 972 adolescents (aged 12–15 years) was conducted in two secondary schools in Hanoi, Vietnam. The schools were purposely selected, one each from the inner city and a suburban area, from which classes (grade 6 to 8) were randomly selected. All students attending classes on survey days took part in the survey. The anonymous, self-completed questionnaire included measures of risk behavior, school connectedness, parental bonding, and other factors. Multivariable regression models were used to examine associations between the independent variables and the three health risk behaviors controlling for confounding factors.


Young people in the inner city school reported a higher prevalence of all three risk behaviors than those in the suburban area (ST: 16.1% [95% confidence interval, or CI, 12.9–19.3] versus 4.6% [95% CI 2.7–6.5], p<0.001; DA: 20.3% [95% CI 16.8–23.8] versus 8.3% [95% CI 5.8–10.8], p<0.001, and MD: 10.1% [95% CI 7.4–12.8] versus 5.7% [95% CI 3.6–7.8], p<0.01). School connectedness and mother and father care appeared to be significant protective factors. For males, bullying in school was associated with suicidal thoughts, whereas for both males and females, school connectedness may be protective against suicidal ideation.


This study supports findings from other nations regarding suicidal thoughts and alcohol use, and appears to be one of the first to examine risk and protective factors forMD. Health promotion within schools should be introduced to improve students’ feelings of connectedness in combination with communication and education campaigns focusing on parental care and engaging teachers for the promotion of safer, supportive school environments.

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10 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 89128
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: risk behavior, risk factor, protective factor, school children, Vietnam
DOI: 10.3402/gha.v6i0.18876
ISSN: 1654-9880
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Tran Bich Phuong et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 16 Oct 2015 03:44
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2015 00:50

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