Health risk behaviours of foreign-born adolescents in Singapore: Exploration of risk factors in an asian context

Hyekyung Choo, Boon Wee Timothy Sim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the prevalence of health risk behaviours among foreign-born adolescents in Singapore, and the effects of migration-related risk factors on their health risk behaviours in comparison with Singapore-born adolescents. It also assessed whether the risk factors for foreign-born adolescents' health risk behaviours found in Western research are replicated in Singapore as an Asian context. Using a sample of 181 foreign-born and 1,308 Singapore-born adolescents who are nationally representative of Singapore secondary school students, bivariate analyses and logistic regression analyses were conducted. The results showed that foreign-born adolescents in Singapore reported higher prevalence in drinking, using drugs and having sexual intercourse than their local-born counterparts. The effects of feelings of isolation on drug use and peer pressure on sexual intercourse were also found to be stronger for foreign-born adolescents than for Singapore-born adolescents, with no difference in the effect of family conflict on health risk behaviours between the groups. These findings differ from those in Western research literature, suggesting that social work practitioners working with foreign-born adolescents in Singapore or other similar Asian contexts need to be informed not only by Western knowledge, but also by local evidence. Implications for prevention and intervention strategies based on the study findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2203-2222
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • Asian migration
  • Foreign-born adolescents
  • Health risk behaviours
  • Immigrants
  • Risk factors
  • Singapore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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