Background: Adolescents with complex diseases may have a higher frequency of risk behaviors than their healthy peers. Aim: To characterize risk behaviors in adolescents with complex chronic diseases. Patients and methods: Risk behaviors were assessed by means of a self-administered questionnaire designed for this purpose, in adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, who attended a pediatrics specialties clinic due to cystic fibrosis, congenital craniofacial anomalies, liver transplantation, kidney transplantation and spinal dysraphism. Results: We assessed 98 patients with a mean age of 14.1 years (59% women). The most common behaviors were those related to accidents and violence, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. Tobacco, alcohol and drug use, and sexual risk behaviors were observed in patients older than 15 years. Adolescents with congenital craniofacial anomaly followed by those with cystic fibrosis, showed a greater tendency towards some risk behaviors. Less physical activity and early onset of tobacco use predominated in women. Males had more fights. Eighteen percent of patients had more than 3 risk behaviors; 52% had two or three and 30% had one risk behavior. Conclusions: Risk behaviors in these adolescents with complex diseases varied according to the type of disease, gender and age.
Adolescent; Adolescent Behavior; Chronic disease; Risk-taking