SCASD Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS)

  • Since 1989, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has conducted a survey of secondary school students on their behavior, attitudes and knowledge concerning alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence.

    The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) of 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grade public school students is conducted every two years.

    This survey was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

    The data gathered in the PAYS serve two primary needs:

    • First, the survey results provide an important benchmark for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use and delinquent behavior among young Pennsylvanians, and help indicate whether prevention and treatment programs are achieving their intended results.
    • Second, the survey assesses risk factors that are related to these behaviors and the protective factors that guard against them. This information allows community leaders and school administrators to direct prevention resources to areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact.

    By administering the PAYS, State College Area School District has assessed the risk and protective factors its young people face. This report identifies the risk and protective factors most in need of attention in the community. This information can be used to guide prevention efforts, to help address existing problems, and to promote healthy and positive youth development.

    Survey Methodology

    The CTCYS was developed to provide scientifically sound information to communities. It measures a variety of risk and protective factors by using groups of survey items, which are called scales. Please note that some of the risk factors are measured with more than one scale.

    The CTCYS was developed from research funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This research supported the development of a student survey to measure the following items:

    • Risk and protective factors that predict alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use, delinquency and other problem behaviors in adolescents.
    • The prevalence and frequency of drug use.
    • The prevalence and frequency of antisocial behaviors.

    Administration of the PAYS Survey

    The survey was administered in the classroom and required approximately one class period to complete. Each teacher received an appropriate number of surveys and survey collection envelopes. The teachers reviewed the instructions with their students and asked the students to complete the survey. The instructions informed the students that there were no right or wrong answers. The instructions also explained the proper way to mark the answers.

    In some schools, some or all of the student respondents complete the survey in a computer lab using an internet-based survey administration system. Students were asked to complete the survey but were also told that participation is voluntary. Furthermore, students were told that they could skip any question that they were not comfortable answering. Both the teacher and the written instructions on the front of the survey form assured students that the survey was anonymous and confidential.


Last Modified on December 15, 2023