Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Posted by Nancy Wayman on 10/12/2017 4:00:00 PM

October 5-8, 2017

Source of Inaccuracies:       


The correct name of the survey is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), not National Student Risk Survey.

Is the YRBS a Monroe County survey? Where can parents see the survey questions?

PCSD participates through the Monroe County’s Department of Public Health, and uses a survey based upon a survey that was developed by the Center for Disease Control. The survey is available for parental review prior to implementation.

The survey is administered every two years. This means no survey will be administered during the 2017-2018 school year. The County's Department of Public Health and Monroe County school districts meet during the year of no survey to review the survey instrument and make adjustments as needed for our community.

What is the difference between the high school and middle school survey?

In Monroe County, only PCSD has fewer questions on the middle school survey because PCSD has chosen NOT to include the sexual activity questions in the middle school survey.

Why does PCSD participate in this survey when the majority of students do not report risk behaviors?

Identifying student behaviors and monitoring trends related to youth risk behaviors is important to the health and welfare of our students. The District collects this data to inform decisions related to services and supports and to provide information to students and families about ways to address the identified concerns.

Identifying risk behaviors that students participate in or have experienced is critical to guiding prevention and early intervention strategies and for monitoring trends. For example, monitoring alcohol consumption is important because underage drinking has many dangerous and unhealthy consequences, including vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries (such as burns, falls, and drowning), alcohol dependence, risky sexual activity and academic problems. Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years. Monitoring access to and use of drugs is critical to educating students and families about this increasingly serious issue in all communities in our area.

Identifying student mental health issues, (e.g., sadness, lack of concentration, thoughts of suicide) informs practices for counselors, psychologists and social workers.

Identifying the protective factors that students experience (e.g., having trusted adults in their lives, knowing who to talk to if they need assistance, etc.) helps the District and families understand those factors which help students to cope with concerns or issues they may have.

The District and families can celebrate the high percentage of students who report that they do not participate in risk behaviors and continue the efforts which support non-risky behaviors.

Are parents told in advance about this survey?

During the years the YRBS is offered, a letter is sent to parents from principals at each secondary school. The letter outlines the rationale for the survey, the types of questions, the opportunity to opt their child out of the survey, and the availability of the survey for parent review. Attached is a sample letter that was sent to families.

How does a parent indicate that a student is not to participate in the YRBS?

Should a parent choose not to have a child participate in the YRBS, the letter contains a form which can be completed and returned to the school to opt their child out of the survey.

Is it anonymous?

Yes. While students use District computers, they do not log in to the system so there are not identifiers linked to students.

How is the data used? Do the schools follow through on concerns?

There are many important ways that data is used: 

  • Development of programs and services to address needs
  • Student education based upon results
  • Informing parents and community of trends
  • Health teachers utilizing data to promote positive normative behaviors through classroom and school wide activities
  • School wide programs and activities targeting specific areas, levels
  • Development of community partnerships to address identified areas






By Month