African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Health risk behaviours among adolescent girls: A questionnaire versus the timeline follow-back procedure

E Africa, K van Deventer


Adolescent girls struggle with life’s complexities and there is considerable evidence supporting the idea that health risk behaviours among adolescents are mounting. These risk behaviours include violence, cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug use and abuse, irresponsible sexual behaviours, unhealthy eating habits and non-physical activity. The main aim of this article was to investigate whether the respondents would be honest in completing a questionnaire based on the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS). Since adolescents tend to purposefully underreport or over report health risk behaviours, the need existed to determine whether the results of a Timeline Follow-Back (TLFB) procedure through interviews corresponded with the results of the questionnaire that the participants completed. The study sample consisted of adolescent girls in Grade 12 (N=37) who were selected from a previously disadvantaged high school in the Worcester region, South Africa. No statistical differences were found between the results of the YRBS and that of the TLFB, indicating that the respondents were honest in answering the questionnaire.

Key words: Health risk behaviours, adolescent girls, timeline follow-back procedure, Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.

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