Sexual Behaviors - YRBS

The questions provided by this tool come from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). With versions available for middle school and high school, this survey is designed to assess priority health-risk behaviors in youth and young adults. Behaviors examined are those that are leading contributors to death, disability, and social problems in this young population, and include tobacco use, unhealthy dietary behaviors, inadequate physical activity, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. This tool is free and publicly available. English only.

 

Tool

Population
Administration Method
Number of Questions
7
Creator(s) of Tool
Complete measurement tool reference:
Brener, N.D., Collins, J.L., Kann, L., et al. (1995). Reliability of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey questionnaire. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141, 575–80. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00339-7

Complete measurement tool hyperlink:
http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/pdf/questionnaire/2011_hs_questionnaire.pdf

Adaptation made/subset of questions selected:
A subset of questions was selected for this tool (Questions 60-67).
Scoring / Benchmarking
Scoring:
The following scoring method applies to items 63-66, which are direct markers of sexual risk. Question 61 (age of first sex) is also a marker of sexual risk. Although there is no clear cut-off for what age is considered “early”, some have noted that sex under the age of 15 is a risk factor for sexual risk taking and unintended pregnancy.

1. Assign numeric values to question answers, by assigning a 1 to mark risky sexual behaviors and a 0 to mark more normative responses. (For coding key, see below).

2. Sum all responses and divide by the total number of responses to obtain a percent score (e.g., 3/4=75%, 2/3=67%).

Coding Key:
1. How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?
-I have never had sexual intercourse = 0
-14 years old or younger =1
-15 years old or older =0

2. During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?
-I have never had sexual intercourse = 0
-I have had sexual intercourse, but not during the past 3 months = 0
-1 to 3 people = 0
-4 people or more = 1

3. Did you drink alcohol or use drugs before you had sexual intercourse the last time?
-I have never had sexual intercourse = 0
-Yes =1
-No =0

4. The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?
-I have never had sexual intercourse = 0
-Yes =0
-No =1

5. The last time you had sexual intercourse, what one method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy? (Select only one response.)
-I have never had sexual intercourse = 0
-No method was used to prevent pregnancy =1
-Birth control pills =0
-Condoms =0
-Depo-Provera (or any injectable birth control), Nuva Ring (or any birth control ring), =0
-Implanon (or any implant), or any IUD =0
-Withdrawal =1
-Some other method =1
-Not sure =1

Benchmarks:
There are no formal benchmarks for this measure. Generally, benchmarks depend on the risk levels of participants at baseline. For example, if 60 percent of sexually active participants endorse at least one out of four risky behaviors at baseline, then a possible benchmark could be that no more than 30 percent of participants endorse at least one out of four risky behaviors. However, decisions about setting benchmarks must be made at the program level.
Background / Quality
This tool is widely used and is well tested. For information about the quality of this tool, refer to the following studies:

Brener, N.D., Kann, L., McManus, T.L., Kinchen, S., Sundberg, E.C., & Ross, J.G. (2002). Reliability of the 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Questionnaire. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 336–342. Retrieved on May 1, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/pdf/reliability.pdf. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00339-7

Brener, N.D., Collins, J.L., Kann, L., et al. (1995). Reliability of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey questionnaire. American Journal of Epidemiology, 141, 575–80. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00339-7

Kulig, K., Brener, N.D., McManus, T. (2003). Sexual activity and substance use among adolescents by category of physical activity plus team sports participation. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 157, 905–912. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.9.905

Robin, L., Brener, N., Donahue, S.F., Hack, T., Hale, K., & Goodenow, C. (2002). Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 156, 349–355.

Santelli, J.S., Robin, L, Brener, N.D., & Lowry, R. (2001). Timing of alcohol and other drug use and sexual risk behaviors among unmarried adolescents and young adults. Family Planning Perspectives; 33, 200–205. Retrieved on May 1, 2010. doi:10.2307/2673782

Warren C.W., Santelli J.S., Everett S.A., Kann, L., Collins, J. L., Cassell, C., …, & Kolbe, L. J. (1998). Sexual behavior among U.S. high school students. Family Planning Perspectives, 30,170–172, 200. doi:10.2307/2991678
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
No
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