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.
- Adolescent development
- Educational status
- Risk behavior reduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science