Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

What is YRBS?

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was developed to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute 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:

  • Tobacco use  

  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors  

  • Inadequate physical activity  

  • Alcohol and drug use  

  • Sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection  

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence  

In addition, the YRBS monitors general health status and the prevalence of obesity and asthma.

The YRBS was designed to:

  • Determine the prevalence of health risk behaviors  

  • Assess whether health risk behaviors increase, decrease, or stay the same over time  

  • Examine the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors

  • Provide comparable national, state, territorial, tribal, and local data  

  • Provide comparable data among subpopulations of youth

The YRBS is comprised of school based surveys of representative samples of 7th through 12th grade students. These surveys are conducted every two years, usually during the spring semester. School level data are conducted in classrooms by middle and high school students, via self-administered paper and pencil questionnaires. Completion of the survey is voluntary and confidential.