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2015 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) Administration

The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) was designed to measure the need for prevention services among youth in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 in the areas of substance abuse, delinquency, antisocial behavior, violence, and mental health issues. The questions on the survey ask youth about the factors that place them at risk for substance use and other problem behaviors along with the factors that offer them protection from problem behaviors. The survey also inquires about the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATODs), participation in various antisocial behaviors, school climate and safety issues, and thoughts regarding suicide and students’ own mental health. The survey is conducted in public, private, parochial, and cyber schools. In 2013, over 350 school districts comprised of more than 800 schools participated in the survey administration. Funding for the survey was provided by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Rose Baker, Ph.D., College of Education (

About the Project

  • 2-year PCCD, PDE, DDAP-funded project.

Research Questions

  • What are the risks and protections available to the youth in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 in Pennsylvania?
  • How have reported rates changed as a result of prevention efforts?
  • What antisocial behaviors were identified as needing addressed?

Project Details

  • Redesign of the survey to add/remove questions.
  • Determine structure of innovative 3-form design to ask more questions with planned missing data.
  • Update report design to enhance the usability by policy makers and prevention coalitions.
  • Streamline process for schools to administer the survey.
  • Recruit schools that have not participated in the past or did not participate in 2013.
  • Coordinate with Bach-Harrison, L.L.C. to administer the survey and generate reports.
  • Evaluate question placement and survey design.


  • Survey results inform and help evaluate prevention strategies.