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Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

Summary Sheet

What is the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)?
The YRBSS 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 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 infection, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.

What are the purposes of the YRBSS?
The YRBSS was designed to determine the prevalence of health risk behaviors, assess whether health risk behaviors increase, decrease, or stay the same over time, and examine the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors. The YRBSS provides comparable national, state, and local data and it provides comparable data among subpopulations of youth. It also monitors progress toward achieving the Healthy People 2020 objectives and other program indicators.

What are the components of the YRBSS?
YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC and state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local education and health agencies and tribal governments. The Oklahoma statewide YRBS is one component of the larger YRBSS. 

How much does the Oklahoma YRBS cost and what is involved?
There is no cost to the school district or school to conduct the YRBS through the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). OSDH provides all survey materials, including parental consent forms, survey booklets, answer sheets, and pencils. Fifty schools from around the state are randomly selected to participate in the survey. Only schools with students in grades 9-12 are eligible to be selected.

How is the Oklahoma YRBS administered?
The CDC random sample YRBS is administered by the staff of the Maternal and Child Health Service from OSDH. Mandatory training is provided to all OSDH staff before survey administration.  All survey administrators are given specific guidelines about the survey atmosphere, confidentiality procedures and safeguards, and recommendations about how to handle student questions during the YRBS.

Who do I contact for more information?
If you would like more information about the YRBS please contact the Thad Burk, Child and Adolescent Health Epidemiologist, at (405) 271-6761 or by e-mail at

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