National Runaway Switchboard Study Shows that They are More Likely to Attempt Suicide and Use Marijuana as Adults
CHICAGO, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For adults who ran away from home as adolescents, the likelihood of having suicidal thoughts increases by 51 percent and they're more than three times as likely to attempt suicide. The National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) discovered that and other negative effects of running away in the "Runaway Youth Longitudinal Study 2011." The results offer compelling evidence that running away from home as an adolescent is correlated with important health, economic and legal outcomes in adulthood.
"We hope that identifying the long-term consequences of running away will encourage parents, teachers and other adults to get involved earlier to prevent a runaway situation," said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director. "If youth are aware of the consequences, maybe they won't consider running away as the answer to solving their problems."
The study, an analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data set and conducted by Jennifer Benoit-Bryan of the University of Illinois, Chicago, for the National Runaway Switchboard, is the first one to use nationally representative data to investigate the long-term impact of running away from home. A national representative sample of more than 15,000 individuals was interviewed at four points in time spanning 15 years from adolescence to adulthood.
"We found that running away is correlated with problems in adulthood, not just during the runaway episode itself," said Benoit-Bryan.
Some key findings show that for adults who ran away from home as adolescents:
- Health Impacts –
- The likelihood of them being a smoker is 2.4 times as high and they are 67 percent more likely to use marijuana.
- They're 53 percent more likely to report having an STD.
- Economic Impacts –
- Their annual personal income level is $8,823 lower on average.
- The likelihood of being a recipient of AFDC, public assistance, or welfare is 76 percent higher.
- Law Enforcement Impacts –
- They're approximately 2.5 times more likely to be arrested.
- They're 99 percent more likely to sell drugs.
The report also identifies differences between runaways and non-runaways in terms of demographics and risk factors. For information on NRS and to download the full report, visit www.1800RUNAWAY.org/learn/research.
SOURCE National Runaway Switchboard