THE RUNAWAY YOUTH LONGITUDINAL STUDY
The Runaway Youth Longitudinal Study is a panel study spanning 15 years that examined the characteristics of kids who run away from home and the long-term impacts of runaway behavior on key outcomes in adulthood. The goals of the study were (1) to identify differences between runaways and non-runaways in terms of demographics and risk factors, and (2) to understand the association between running away from home as an adolescent and health, economic, and justice system outcomes in adulthood. Data were obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of over 15,000 adolescents who were followed into adulthood with four longitudinal interview points. The results offer compelling evidence that running away from home as an adolescent is correlated with increased risks of having suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, having health problems that prevent moderate activity, being a smoker, having a sexually transmitted disease, having lower annual income, receiving public assistance, not having a high school diploma or GED, being arrested, and selling drugs in adulthood.