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National Youth Survey

User Information



Author/Developer / Address:

EMT Associates under contract to the Office of Scientific Analysis at the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). EMT Associates is a national leader in the creative application of program evaluation methods to organizational problems.

EMT Associates, Inc.
771 Oak Avenue Parkway, Suite 2
Folsom, California, USA 96630

Publication dates:


Primary use / Purpose:

National Youth Survey is the Data Collection Instrument built to collect individual level data for the National Cross-Site Evaluation of High-Risk Youth (HRY) Programs. The HRY Program is a 5-year study that CSAP began in 1995 (Sambrano, S., Springer, J. F., & Hermann, J. (1997). Informing the next generation of prevention programs: CSAP’s Cross-Site Evaluation of the 1994-95 High Risk Youth grantees. Journal of Community Psychology, 25, 375-395).

Description / Type of Assessment:

This instrument has been carefully designed to measure program impacts on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) use and risk/resiliency factors that have been shown to affect ATOD use.

The National Youth Survey is compatible with GPRA measures used in other CSAP studies, allowing comparability of outcomes with other interventions. It utilizes theoretically appropriate and psychometrically sound measures selected from existing instruments, and guided by a clear epidemiological theoretical framework (see Measures Development for CSAP’s National Cross-Site Evaluation of High Risk Youth Programs, www.EMT.org. )

The Study

The Cross-Site Evaluation of the High Risk Youth Demonstration Program was conducted by EMT Associates under contract to the Office of Scientific Analysis at the CSAP. The study was initiated in 1994 and completed in 2002.

The study design allowed tests of the effectiveness of programs by measuring changes in participants’ risk, protection, and substance use over time and comparing the results to changes in similar youth who did not receive program services. Data was collected at four points: Program Entry (baseline);Program Exit;6 Month Follow-up; 18 Month Follow-up.

Forty-eight HRY demonstration programs across the Nation participated in this study. These grantees were funded by CSAP to implement and assess programs to prevent and reduce the use of alcohol and illicit drugs among at-risk youth. A rigorous research design incorporating lessons from earlier evaluations of prevention service implementation and effectiveness guided the study. The evaluation used a quasi-experimental comparison group design to study the more than 6,000 youth who were participating in the 48 demonstration programs, comparing them with approximately 4,500 similar youth in the same communities who were not participating in the programs. This researchers used Hierarchical Linear Modeling to assess the implementation and effectiveness of common program interventions implemented across the selected programs, and focused on identifying those program characteristics that were most strongly associated with program effectiveness across diverse settings, participants, and interventions.

This is the first of CSAP's cross-site studies of high risk youth programs that used a common core data collection instrument.

Domains measured / Life Areas / Problems Assessed:

The instrument includes measures of:

  • Risk Factors (Personal Factors, Family Environment, Neighbourhood Environment, Social Influences)
  • Resiliency Factors (School and Family Connectedness, Self-Concept, Self-Control, Self-Efficacy, Positive Outlook, Confidence and Cooperation)
  • ATOD Attitudes and Use (Tobacco, Alcohol, Marijuana, Inhalants, Other Drugs)


Youth selected for inclusion in CSAP’s National Cross-Site Evaluation were limited to those between the ages of 9 and 18. The great majority of participants were between 11 and 15.

Administration/Completion Time:

An average of 45 minutes per response.

Source of Psychometrics:

See the attachment below "Methodological Information".


English, Spanish


Fred Springer, PhD Research Director EMT Associates, Inc. 230 Franklin Rd. #813Franklin, TN 37064. Email: fred@emt.org. http://ncadi.samhsa.gov

Practicability / usefulness:

The instrument is useful for the evaluation of selective prevention programmes and for the assessment of risk and resiliency factors in vulnerable populations. The measure provides reliable and valid measures of evidence-based constructs shown in past studies to lie along connective paths among risk and protective factors and substance use. The framework, described as the “Web of influence” groups external influences on youth into five domains: family, peers, school, community and society. The framework allows researchers to answer questions about the ways in which external influences and internal orientations interact to prevent or promote substance use, and about how specific interventions impact these multiple risk and protective factors.


The results of the study confirm that the central implication for prevention is the need to build connections to positive and meaningful social environments for youth. Though important, just changing the environment, or just changing individual orientations, is not enough. Protection and positive development requires connection between the two. Building and supporting these connections is a central challenge to prevention and a positive promise to youth (Sambrano, S., Springer, J. F., Sale, E., Kasim, R., & Hermann, J. (2005). Understanding prevention effectiveness in real world settings: The National Cross-Site Evaluation of High-Risk Youth programs. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 31, 491-513). The study also identifies strong implementation (coherence), behavioural life skills content, reflective learning methods, connectedness-building methods, and adequate intensity of contact (four hours per week or more) as important contributors to prevention effectiveness (Springer, J. F., Sale, E., Hermann, J., Sambrano, S., Kasim, R., & Nistler, M. (2004). Characteristics of effective substance abuse prevention programs for high-risk youth. Journal of Primary Prevention, 25, 171-195).

Baseline Questionnaire National Youth Survey (12-18 version)
Download this attachment in PDF format
Cuestionario Base Encuesta Nacional Juvenil (versión 12-18)
Download this attachment in PDF format
Methodological Information


Page last updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007