Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Funded by Emerson Hospital as part of its Community Benefits Program, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) helps us understand the health issues faced by public school students in our region. It is coordinated by Market Street Research in Northampton, Mass., and has been conducted every two years since 1997.

Emerson YRBS is a census of students in 6th grade, 8th grade, and high school.  Eight public school districts participated in the 2020 survey, including 6,866 students in 6th grade, 8th grade and high school who completed the survey in March 2020. The participating school districts included Acton-Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, and Concord-Carlisle High School, Groton-Dunstable, Harvard, Littleton, Maynard, and Nashoba Regional.

The findings are used to set school health and health promotion goals, and support modifications of school health curricula and support Emerson Hospital’s community health needs assessment. Each school district approves the questions that students are asked in the YRBS and communication with students and parents about the survey is at the discretion of each individual district. If you have any questions about your school district’s YRBS, please contact the school administration office directly.

• 2020 Youth Risk Behavior Survey [PDF]

Emerson Hospital is very concerned about challenges students are facing as they grapple with remote learning and the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on their families and communities. Acton-Boxborough, Groton-Dunstable and Maynard school districts collaborated with Emerson Hospital to conduct a follow-up survey of 6th graders, 8th graders, and high school students in March 2021. Nearly 2,500 students from these three districts completed the COVID Response Survey either from home (if accessing school virtually) or at school (if attending in-person). The questionnaire covered most of the topics included in the 2020 YRBS along with new items specifically about students’ perspectives on how the pandemic has affected them.

2021 Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Youth Risk Behavior [PDF]