Youth Risk Behavior Survey

2013 Overview, Greater Manchester NH Region.  
This high school survey is conducted every other year and results are released by the NH Department of Education in November of the same year.

In November of 2013, the results of the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey were released by the NH Department of Education.  This is a survey given to a random sample of high school aged youth to examine behaviors and how they intersect with overall health and well being.  The YRBS provides valuable insight on current or previous health behaviors of youth.  The NH Department of Education uses the data to gauge trends in health behaviors, perceptions and substance use rates throughout the state.

The results of the YRBS can also be used to examine particular relationships, such as how the youth's perception of risk can influence alcohol or drug use.  this information can be used to determine prevention or intervention strategies that will best service youth in a specific population. 

The following is a brief synopsis of indicator that are consistently highlighted from year to year.  the information represents the responses of high school aged youth in the Greater Manchester Region who participated in the CDC sponsored survey.  More information can be found at the NH Department of Education website, here.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

45.1% FEEL THEY MATTER TO THEIR COMMUNITY

Community connectedness can ofter be a strong protector against mental health and drug use issues among youth.  Studies have shown is a your feels connected to their school and communities, they are more likely to have academic success. In turn, students with higher academic success are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as using alcohol or other drugs. (1)

WELLNESS

84.7% REPORTED BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE FOR AT LEAST 60 MINUTES PER DAY ON FIVE OR MORE DAYS IN THE PAST WEEK.

Several YRBS questions address physical activity, physical education classes and other extra-curricular activities of students.  Studies have shown that regular physical exercise among youth can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health.  Regular exercise is also associated with other positive health indicators, such as low blood pressure and healthy weight. (2) 

MENTAL HEALTH INDICATORS

21.6% REPORTED BEING BULLIED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY

Several YRBS questions measure the frequency and method of bullying behavior.  Being the victim of bullying is often associated with depression, suicidal ideation, and increased odds of chronic health issues. (2)

26.0% FELT SO SAD OR HOPELESS THAT THEY STOPPED DOING USUAL ACTIVITIES

Other questions on the YRBS examine sadness, suicide ideation and seriousness of suicidal thoughts and attempts.  Depression in early adolescence is linked with increased risks for poor academic performance and poor relationships with parents and peers. (3)

14.7% REPORTED THEY SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED ATTEMPTING SUICIDE DURING THE PAST 12 MONTHS

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15-19.  In 2013, 7.3% of those who participated in the YRBS reported actually attempting suicide within the past 12 months.  Risk of suicide has also been associated with tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. (2)

ALCOHOL USE

56.8% REPORTED USING ALCOHOL AT LEAST ONCE IN THEIR LIFE

Alcohol was reported as the most commonly used substance among youth in New Hampshire, according to the 2013 YRBS.  One in three of NH high school aged youth reported using alcohol within the past 30 days.

11.2% REPORTED HAVING THEIR FIRST DRINK OF ALCOHOL BEFORE AGE 13

Age of the first use plays a significant role in long-term health, as those who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are five times more likely to report alcohol dependence or abuse than those who began drinking at age 21 or older. (2)

17.0% REPORTED HAVING 5 OR MORE DRINKS IN A ROW, WITHIN A COUPLE OF HOURS IN THE PAST 30 DAYS

The frequency of consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time is also measured in the YRBS.  This behavior, known as binge drinking, has been associated with risky behaviors among youth, particularly sexual activity, and use of other drugs, such as cigarettes and marijuana. (2)

MARIJUANA USE

22.1% MANCHESTER AREA YOUTH REPORTED USING MARIJUANA ONE OR MORE TIMES IN THE PAST 30 DAYS

Past 30 days use of marijuana in New Hampshire decreased among high school age youth from 28.4% in 2011 to 24.4% in 2013.  Early initiation of marijuana use has shown to have a negative impact on memory and learning, as well as school performance.  It is also associated with increased risk for mental health issues.  The results of the 2013 NH YRBS indicate that 6.3% of use by high school aged youth began before age 13 in the Greater Manchester Region. (4)

PRESCRIPTION DRUG USE

62.6% REPORTED THAT THEY PERCEIVE GREAT RISK OF HARM IN USING A PRESCRIPTION DRUG WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION

Findings have shown that when youth perceive high risk, they are significantly less likely to engage in the behavior that poses the risk. (5)  In the 2013 NH YRBS, almost two thirds of youth recognize the great risk of using a prescription drug without a doctor's prescription.  This corresponds with a low percentage of high school aged youth responding having ever used a prescription drug (6.8%). 

For more information on the 2013 NH YRBS, visit the NH Department of Education website by clicking here.

Resources

(1) http://community-matters.org/downloads/CDCFeatures-StrongConnectionsatSchoolCanLeadtoHealthierChoices.pdf
(2) http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/questionnaire/2013 standard itemrationale.pdf
(3) http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=adolescents-who-felt-sad-or-hopeless
(4) http://adai.uw.edu/marijuana/factsheets/adolescents.htm
(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17385964