Methods: Four descriptive correlational pilot studies were conducted on convenience samples of culturally diverse adolescents, ranging in age from 14 to 19 years. Key variables measured included healthy lifestyle beliefs, healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors, anxiety and depression.
Results: Teens with stronger cognitive beliefs about their ability to engage in a healthy lifestyle have reported healthier lifestyle choices as well as healthier lifestyle behaviors. These studies also have demonstrated that higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms in teens are related to weaker cognitive beliefs about the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Findings from this body of evidence support cognitive behavioral theory, in that how adolescents think are directly related to how they feel and how they behave. Therefore, interventions such as the COPE TEEN program that are guided by CBT and incorporate cognitive-behavioral skills building activities may be especially useful in promoting healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors in adolescents.