Adolescent girls in context: Not all patterns may be created equal


  • Kari Trost Stockholm University
  • Bassam El-Khouri The National Board of Health and Welfare
  • Knut Sundell Karolinska Institute



Adolescence, contexts, person-oriented, risk patterns


Much research exists on the importance of risk factors within individual contexts of parenting, neighborhood, school, and peers for adolescent development. However little exists on whether risks in certain contexts may be more or less likely for risk accumulation across contexts – referred to as the Weighted Risk Phenomenon (WRP). One way to study WRP is to study adolescent patterns of co-existing risk characteristics across domains and over time. The present study focuses on studying information about parenting, neighborhood, school, and peers in order to understand how risk can have different patterns over time. Participants were all girls recruited from junior high schools in rural and metropolitan areas of Sweden. The results illustrate that there are stable structural and individual pathways across four contexts of adolescent girls which may represent risk over time. Structurally, patterns which emerged at grade 7 reappeared again a year later and again a year after that in grade 9. In general, the same individuals seem to re-emerge in the same or similar patterns over time. Those who showed risk accumulation patterns tended to report prior risk factors in the parenting context. Such trends are supported in the literature and give support to the postulation that parenting is one of the strongest risk factors for adolescents. The findings indicate possible underpinnings of WRP.