Risk Behaviors, Family Support, and Emotional Health among Adolescents during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Israel

Orit Shapiro, Rachel Nissanholtz Gannot, Gizell Green, Avi Zigdon, Moti Zwilling, Ariela Giladi, Lilach Ben-Meir, Marques Adilson, Sharon Barak, Yossi Harel-Fisch, Riki Tesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigated the prevalence of risk behaviors among Israeli adolescents (tobacco smok-ing, alcohol consumption, drug use) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Associations between different risk behaviors were examined and so was whether specific characteristics could predict risk behaviors in adolescents. The study consisted of 1020 Israeli adolescents aged 15–18. Study subjects completed an online survey between the first and second lockdowns in Israel (April 2020 to September 2020). Participants reported the frequency at which they engaged in four different risky behaviors: general risky behavior, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption (binge drinking), and cannabis use. The most prevalent risky behavior in the sample was binge drinking (33.8%). The four measured risky behaviors were significantly correlated. Among participants who had previously engaged in a risky behavior assessed, most did not change the behavior frequency during the pandemic. All indepen-dent variables (sociodemographic characteristics, family support, and emotional, health excluding friends’ support, physical activity volume, and coronavirus restrictions) were significantly different between participants engaging vs. not engaging in risky behaviors. Our findings suggest that family support is one of the most influential factors in preventing risky behavior during the pandemic, and they emphasize the importance of family-based interventions with children and adolescents from elementary to high school.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3850
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 24 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Adolescents
  • COVID-19
  • Family support
  • Risk behaviors


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