Pennsylvania Youth Survey
The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) is a biennial survey of youth in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The PAYS asks questions about students’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviors concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs (ATOD), violence, depression, and other problem behaviors. The survey also collects information about risk factors which are the conditions that increase the likelihood that a child will develop problem behaviors later in life, and it also collects information about protective factors – people or conditions in a community that can buffer a youth from risk.
Is student participation anonymous?
Yes, completely anonymous and confidential. Students are given a survey booklet that contains the question items and a place for them to record responses.
Are sensitive questions asked?
The survey includes questions related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; violent behaviors; other health risk behaviors; and related risk and protective factors. The survey questions have been designed to measure knowledge and behaviors. Students may also skip any questions that they do not feel comfortable answering or that they do not understand.
What if a parent does not wish their child to participate?
Passive parental consent forms will inform parents about the survey and instruct them to contact the principal’s
office if they do not wish their child to take the survey. If a parent does decline, their son or daughter will be allowed to read or participate in some other alternate activity while his or her classmates are taking the survey.
How long does it take to complete the PAYS?
The survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete and is designed to be administered during a single class period. Although it is expected that the students will have sufficient time to complete the entire survey, they will be informed they should answer as many questions as possible during the class but not be concerned if they are not able to finish all of them.