Patient Engagement in Emerging Adults

Predictors of Health Engagement and Health Outcomes in Emerging Adults

The emphasis on prevention of chronic diseases requires that interventions occur earlier in one’s life, prior to disease onset. Emerging adulthood (ages 18 to 30) is highly associated with entrance and exit from schooling and is a time period which prevention efforts could target. As health services researchers move beyond clinical interventions toward addressing causes and determinants of health, it is critical that institutions of higher education be explored as high impact sites for promoting health and preventing disease. This study surveys students at three institutions of higher education in Durham, North Carolina, to determine the factors that influence health behaviors and to develop predictive models to identify populations at risk for poor health outcomes. The longitudinal survey asks questions pertaining to demographics, social determinants of health, health behavior, health literacy, self-efficacy, health utilization, and current health status.

Durham Technical Community College Instructor Christine Dove, North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Assistant Professor Ruth Phillips, and Duke Center for Research on Personalized Health Care Investigator Connor Drake have partnered for an additional project funded by a Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute Population Health Improvement Award. The project is titled Identifying Opportunities for Prevention in Emerging Adulthood. The period of emergent adulthood (ages 18 to 30) impacts the brain, social relationships, education, and work, yet little research has been done to assess how institutions of higher education identify and address the health needs of their student populations. This project will build on existing partnerships among Duke, Durham Tech, and NCCU to survey health behaviors and outcomes among students. The project aims to address the issue locally by translating quantitative health data and qualitative interviews with stakeholders into actionable reports for each institution involved in the project to facilitate population health improvement on campus.