Understanding risk-taking behaviour amongst Canadian adolescents
Having been a Concurrent Education student at Queen’s University, Jonathan Kwong has always been passionate about child health and research involving the school environment. The MSc in Epidemiology program at Queen’s has given him the tools to answer the research questions that are most important to him.
Since beginning his graduate studies in 2013, Jonathan’s research has been focused on risk-taking behaviour among Canadian adolescents. By using a dataset of approximately 30,000 Canadian students, Jonathan wanted to understand how different types of risk behaviour (smoking, drinking, fighting, unhealthy dietary patterns, physical inactivity, etc.) relate to one another. Under the supervision of Drs. Will Pickett (Public Health Sciences) and Don Klinger (Education), Jonathan sought to answer two important questions: 1) are there predictable patterns of risk behaviour that adolescents take part in, and 2) if so, do those different patterns impact the health of Canadian adolescents? He was also keen to understand whether positive social relationships with peers and teachers could protect students who participate in risk behaviour from getting hurt.
Before choosing the MSc in Epidemiology program, Jonathan spoke to a number of graduates of the program and they all had wonderful things to say about the program. Jonathan states that “having now completed my degree, I would say the same things”. He goes on to add that “the program allows students to learn from one another, and the faculty make a real effort to support their students to be successful in the program, and beyond”.
Jonathan is particularly proud of the work he did with his fellow MSc and MPH students in creating the Public Health Sciences Student Association (PHSSA). Jonathan explains that the PHSSA regularly holds socials and formals, and provides opportunities for professional development, thereby allowing students and faculty to get to know each other in both social and professional settings.
Having now successfully defended his thesis, Jonathan is preparing to start medical school at the University of Toronto. Jonathan is confident that the lessons learned during his MSc will help him critically evaluate medical literature and continue to grow as a research scientist.