Youth Risk Behavior Survey

FAQs about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey

The November 2019 results are the latest available data.

What is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey? The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is an anonymous, voluntary survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The questionnaire asks about risk behaviors linked to the most common causes of death and disability among adolescents (such as drinking and driving) as well as behaviors linked to development of chronic disease in adults (such as smoking). Starting in October 2017, the survey is administered to Arlington Public School 6th-12th graders.

The survey focus areas include:

  • personal safety
  • use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD)
  • bullying, aggression, and violence
  • dating abuse
  • mental health, such as stress, suicide, and depression
  • nutrition and physical activity

Why do we conduct the Youth Risk Behavior Survey?  The information from the survey will help Arlington schools, County agencies, and the community more broadly respond to the educational and developmental needs of Arlington County youth. The Partnership’s mandate from the County and School Boards is to gather accurate and comprehensive data on the needs, characteristics, and behaviors of our young people. This survey is also an important source of this information.

Are sensitive questions asked on the survey?  Some questions may be considered sensitive. They are included in recognition of the importance of these topics and are presented in a straightforward and sensitive manner. If a student is uncomfortable with any question on the survey, he or she does not have to answer that question or may elect to discontinue the survey.

Are the results confidential? Yes. Individually identifying information is not collected from students. All results are presented at a group, or aggregate, level. The survey is not used for any kind of individual diagnostic purpose.

Are individual students tracked over time to see how their behavior changes?  No. Surveys are not linked to individual students. Individually identifying information is not collected from students.

Is participation voluntary?  Yes. If a student’s class was randomly selected to be a part of the survey sample, then the students’ parents or guardians receive a letter of notification with the option to “opt-out” their student from participation. If a parent or guardian elects to opt-out, the student will be assigned an alternative activity.

How was the survey developed?  The of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). From 2004-2017 the Partnership administered their own survey and tailored some content based upon past results and feedback from Arlington Public Schools, Arlington County and community stakeholders about any trends or challenges seen to be emerging in Arlington. Beginning in October 2017 Arlington will partner with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to administer the state’s survey tool to reduce duplication and survey fatigue, and align with state and national trends.

Is the survey valid and reliable? Yes. To ensure comparability, questions included are typically the same as those asked in previous surveys. The survey meets scientific standards of reliability and validity. Mechanisms are incorporated to detect invalid responses to survey questions.

Do students answer questions truthfully?  Yes. Research has shown that this type of data can be gathered as reliably from adolescents as from adults. Youth are assured that the survey is anonymous and that their responses are not linked to them. Several internal reliability checks help identify falsified answers. Those surveys are removed from the analysis.

Will the survey be administered in any other languages?  Yes. The survey is currently translated into Spanish.

How is the survey administered?  The survey is administered in a classroom setting. It takes one class period. The survey is given to the students; the students read the instructions and then complete the survey. No personal or identifying information is collected from the students.

Survey Questionnaires

November 2019
October 2017
March 2017