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2001 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS)

Various Commonwealth agencies administered a statewide youth survey every 2 years from 1989 through 1997. According to the 2-year pattern, the next survey should have been conducted in 1999. However, no survey was conducted during that year as the survey instrument and its processes were undergoing substantial changes. In 1999, an advisory group representing the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Education, and Public Welfare and other state agencies including the Governor’s Policy Office, the Children’s Partnership, Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, and the PCCD, identified the need for a new statewide survey. This new survey would measure the prevalence of ATOD use and would also assess the risk and protective factors that help shape youth behavior. The risk and protective data could then be used to guide prevention efforts, to help address existing problems, and to promote healthy and positive youth development (Channing Bete Company, Inc., 2004, p. 7).

 The new survey instrument merged questions from the PPAAUS with another survey, the Communities That Care Youth Survey (CTCYS). The statewide youth survey would become known as the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS); A Generation at Risk was no longer included in the report title. The CTCYS is based on the work of Hawkins and Catalano (1992). Their youth survey is designed to identify the levels of risk factors related to problem behaviors such as ATOD use and to identify the levels of risk factors that help guard against those behaviors. The CTCYS also measures the actual prevalence of drug use, violence, and other antisocial behaviors among surveyed students.

 The CTCYS was developed from research funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CTC survey instrument assesses factors predictive of substance abuse and other antisocial behaviors in adolescents. Risk factors have been broadly defined as "those characteristics, variables, or hazards that, if present for a given individual, make it more likely that this individual, rather than someone selected from the general population, will develop a disorder" (Mrazek & Haggerty, 1994, as cited in Pollard et al., 1999, p. 146). Protective factors are defined as "those factors that mediate or moderate the effect of exposure to risk factors, resulting in reduced incidence of the problem behavior" (Garmezy, 1985; Rutter, 1997 as cited Pollard et al., p. 146). The risk and protective factors are organized into four primary domains of community, school, family, and individual/peer. The CTCYS builds on the work of another well-recognized survey, the Monitoring the Future Survey.

 Most of the ATOD questions in the PAYS from the CTCYS are comparable to those used in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey, a national survey of drug use among middle and high school students. The MTF Survey is conducted at the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. The MTF Survey, once also widely known for some years as the National High School Senior Survey, is an annual survey given to 8th, 10th and 12th graders in the United States to determine drug use trends and patterns ("Monitoring the Future," 2007, para. 1-2). The MTF is one of only two repeated, nationally representative surveys that provide all the information in existence about youth risk behavior. There are no other nationally representative sources of information about these behaviors other than these two surveys.

 The Pennsylvania statewide youth survey draws more from Hawkins and Catalano’s (1992) theory than survey questions and risk and protective factor scales, although the survey aspects are important components of the model. Communities That Care is a community operating system or framework for engaging the entire community in promoting the healthy development of young people. Communities That Care is proactive, research-based, outcome focused, data driven, and inclusive of all community stakeholders. Communities That Care sites use the CTCYS to determine risk and protective factors for the young people in the community and then work with others to implement programs based on the assessment.

 The adoption of the CTCYS provided the Commonwealth’s policy makers and community leaders with four important resources. First, the CTCYS questions on ATOD use are comparable to those used in the MTF which allows results from Pennsylvania to be accurately compared to national findings. Second, the items that measure risk and protective factors, which are characteristics of the community, family, school, peer and individual environments, and characteristics of the students themselves, are known to predict drug use and other antisocial behaviors. Third, results from the PAYS in 2001 and thereafter, build upon data gathered by the biennial Generation at Risk surveys that were conducted from 1989 through 1997 and allow for trend analysis within the state with those surveys. When the format of the Generation at Risk survey was combined with the format of the CTCYS, the data from the two survey efforts allowed policy makers in Pennsylvania to track changes in drug use prevalence rates across a 14-year period and compare the results to national results (Channing Bete Company, Inc., 2004, p. 8). Fourth, CTC sites have mobilizers, individuals who work closely with the community. In areas with CTC sites, mobilizers are instrumental in recruiting schools to participate in the statewide youth survey and often function as survey coordinators.

 The first statewide survey conducted in 2001 after the re-design had two objectives. The first was to estimate the prevalence of ATOD use and other delinquent behaviors among middle school and high school students. The second objective was to identify risk and protective factors that correlate with ATOD use and other delinquent behaviors in order to inform prevention planning (Channing Bete Company, Inc., 2002, p. viii). By using a combination of the PPAAUS and the CTCYS, these objectives were achieved; however, the number of survey questions nearly doubled from 95 in 1997 to 185 in 2001 (Channing L. Bete Company, Inc., 2000; Diagnostics Plus, 1997). Another change to the statewide survey was the grades surveyed. The 2001 survey focused on 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders unlike the previous PPAAUS surveys which surveyed 6th, 7th, 9th, and 12th graders. Grades 8, 10, and 12 were chosen as they are the same as those used by the MTF study while grade 6 was a carry-over of the previous PPAAUS statewide youth surveys.

 Channing Bete Company, Inc. (2002). Communities That Care Youth survey report: Pennsylvania youth survey 2001. South Deerfield, MA: Author.

 Channing Bete Company, Inc. (2004). 2003 Pennsylvania youth survey report. South Deerfield, MA: Author.

 Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. (2000). Pennsylvania Youth Survey. South Deerfield, MA: Author.

 Diagnostics Plus. (1997). Appendices: A generation at risk: Alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, weapons, violence, and Pennsylvania’s youth: The 1997 survey. State College, PA: Diagnostics Plus.

 Hawkins, J. D. & Catalano, R. F., Jr., (1992). Communities That Care: Action for drug abuse prevention (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.

 Monitoring the Future. (2007). Retrieved December 28, 2007, from

 Pollard, J. A., Hawkins, J. D., & Arthur, M. W. (1999). Risk and protection: Are both necessary to understand diverse behavioral outcomes in adolescence?

[Electronic version]. Social Work Research, 23(3), 145-158.

Communities That Care Youth Survey Report (PDF)

 PA Youth Survey 2001 Fact Sheet (PDF)

 PA Youth Survey (PDF)


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