PURPOSE - The purpose of this article is to review risk behaviors and their health consequences in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The existing literature on common risk behaviors in adolescents is examined, with a focus on illicit drug use, alcohol use, smoking, unprotected sexual activity, and disordered eating behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS - A review of the literature highlights the lack of studies of risk behaviors in this population. Much of what is known comes from studies with adolescents in the general population or from studies of adults with type 1 diabetes. Known risk and protective factors for risk behaviors and health outcomes are noted. Based on these findings, suggestions are provided for diabetes educators and health care providers to assess for and prevent risk behaviors in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Directions for future research in this population are indicated, including the need to develop and test standardized prevention programs.