Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey & Youth Tobacco Survey (YRBS/YTS)

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey & Youth Tobacco Survey (YRBS/YTS) was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include:

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
  • Sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection.
  • Alcohol and other drug use.
  • Tobacco use.
  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors.
  • Inadequate physical activity.

In addition, the YRBS/YTS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma and other priority health-related behaviors plus sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.

From 1991 through 2017, the YRBS/YTS has collected data from more than 3.8 million high school students in more than 1,700 separate surveys.

The YRBS/YTS was designed to:

  • Determine the prevalence of health behaviors.
  • Assess whether health behaviors increase, decrease, or stay the same over time.
  • Examine the co-occurrence of health behaviors.
  • Provide comparable national, state, territorial, tribal, and local data.
  • Provide comparable data among subpopulations of youth.
  • Monitor progress toward achieving the Healthy People objectives and other program indicators.

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the State education department (MSDE) have worked together to reduce the number of student surveys related to health. In 2013, the departments combined the Youth Tobacco Survey and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The core of the survey will be the YRBS/YTS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will scan all student answer sheets, create the database, and conduct primary data analysis using the CDC’s YRBS/YTS protocols. The combined survey is titled the Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey & Youth Tobacco Survey  or YRBS/YTS.

The Resources listed on the right above provide additional information including, but not limited to, survey questionnaires and question rationales, frequently asked questions, data from past surveys, and Parent/Guardian Opt-Out Form.