Survey Highlights 2009

The SWYS survey is an adaptation of the University of Wisconsin-Extension Teen Assessment Program survey.  The survey assesses teens’ perceptions of self, family, school and community; their future aspirations, worries and concerns; financial practices; and their activities, both positive and problematic. What follows is an executive summary of the results contained in this document.

TOBACCO USE

  • Overall 79% of males and 80% of females report that they have not tried smoking.
  • Almost one quarter (24%) of teens that have tried smoking did so before the age of 12.
  • A strong majority (71%) of all teens associate moderate to great risk with smoking one or two cigarettes a day.
  • Six percent (6%) of females and 22% of males have tried chewing tobacco, and 21% o f 12th grade males report chewing tobacco in the past 30 days.
  • Thirteen percent of teens report that their parents think it is okay for teens their age to smoke cigarettes, and these teens are more likely to have experimented with tobacco.
  • Students who report they have “very little stress” in their lives right now are less likely to have experimented with cigarettes than those who reported more stress or no stress.

ALCOHOL USE

  • Overall 54% of teens surveyed report they have never tried alcohol.  Of the teens that drink 17% of males and 13% of females report having tried alcohol prior to age 12.
  • Seventy-three percent (73%) of all students have NOT used alcohol in the past 30 days, and 86% did NOT engage in binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row in a couple of hours time) in the past 30 days.
  • Fourteen percent (14%) of 12th grade males report driving after drinking alcohol in the past 30 days and nearly one of four (21%) teens report riding with a driver who has been drinking in the past 30 days.
  • Overall, 74% of teens report it is wrong for teens their age to drink alcohol regularly.
  • Teens who believe their parents think it is wrong for teens their age to drink alcohol report lower rates of alcohol use but ten percent (10%) of teens are unsure if their parents think it is wrong for teens their age to drink alcohol.

OTHER DRUG USE

  • Fifteen percent (15%) of teens have tried marijuana.
  • Nearly eight out of ten teens (78%) associate a moderate to great risk with using marijuana.
  • Nine out of ten males and 19 of 20 females think that is at least a little wrong for teens their age to use marijuana.
  • Seven percent (7%) of teens have used prescription drugs that belong to someone else in order to get high and six percent (6%) have used inhalants.
  • Two percent (2%) of teens report they have used ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine in the 30 days prior to the survey.
  • School satisfaction and consistent communication and enforcement of family rules is related to lower levels of drug use.

TEEN SEXUALITY

  • Twenty-four percent (24%) of teens surveyed report having had sexual intercourse. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of teens feel that sexual intercourse is inappropriate for teens their age.
  • Seven percent (7%) of teens think that oral sex without intercourse is appropriate for teens their age.
  • Sexually active teens that report “significant parental monitoring” are more likely to say they “always” use birth control.
  • Seventeen percent (17%) of sexually active teens have had five or more partners.
  • Ninety-seven percent (97%) of teens have never been pregnant or made someone pregnant.
  • Five percent (5%) of teens worry about contracting an STD.
  • In looking at HIV risk factors present among southwest Wisconsin teens, 30% of all teens surveyed have engaged in sexual intercourse, 3% have shared needles, 15% have had multiple partners, 27% have engaged in oral sex, and 1% report having an STD in the past.
  • About 14% of sexually active teens report never using any form of birth control.

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

  • Overall, nearly 89% of students report being satisfied with themselves and having a positive attitude toward themselves.
  • Three in five students (61%) reported being depressed or very sad at least once in a while in the month previous to the survey, and 10% of teens report having these feelings most or all of the time.
  • Fourteen percent (14%) of teens surveyed reported having had suicidal thoughts in the past month.
  • Eleven percent (11%) of students report making a plan to kill themselves at some point in their lives.
  • Six percent (6%) of all students report attempting suicide at some point in their lives.

PERSONAL SAFETY

  • Eighty-nine percent (89%) of students report they feel safe where they live.
  • Fifty-nine percent (59%) of students report they would tell an adult at school if they knew someone had a weapon at school.
  • Fourteen percent (14%) of all teens have been a victim of cyber bulling and 44% said they would ignore it if they were a victim of cyber bullying.
  • Thirty-four percent (34%) of 10th grade girls report being victims of sexual harassment by another teen at school in the past year and five percent (5%) of all teens report being victims of sexual harassment by an adult at school in the past year.
  • Seventeen percent (17%) of females and seven percent (7%) of males report being victims of sexual abuse by another teen.
  • Overall, 6% of females and 4% of males report being victims of forced sexual activity by an adult.

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

  • Fifty-seven percent (57%) of teens “strongly agree” that their family loves them and gives support when they need it and when compared to other teens, these teens are least likely to engage in negative behaviors like substance use and experimentation with sexual intercourse.
  • Seventy-seven percent (77%) of teens have parent(s) that practice very high levels of parental monitoring and when compared to other teens, these teens report low levels of negative behaviors.
  • Based on teens’ perceptions, 73% of teens report their parent’s level of communicating and enforcing consequences for violating house rules is “very consistent,” or “consistent.”  Greater consistency with family rules is linked to lower levels of negative behaviors.
  • Only 19% of teens report that parents would turn them in to school officials and assign additional consequences if their parents had knowledge that the teen violated a school code. In addition 22% report that parents would turn them in to school officials and support the school’s decision. These teens reported lower levels of substance use and sexual intercourse than teens who said their parents would not report them to school officials, regardless of whether the teens expected to be punished by their parents or not.
  • Eating 3 or more meals a week as a family also factors into reducing levels of negative behaviors in teens.  Fifty-four percent (54%) of teens report eating three plus meals a week as a family.

PEERS AND TIME USE

  • Four percent (4%) of teens report they are left out and when asked where they fit in best four percent (4%) say they choose to be alone.
  • Seven percent (7%) of teens say they don’t know where they fit in.
  • Thirty-seven percent (37%) of males and forty-six percent (46%) of females would go to a friend to discuss a personal problem.
  • Eighty-nine percent (89%) of all teens report they agree or strongly agree they can stand up for their beliefs and can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
  • Overall, twenty-five (25%) of students spend one or more hours in community activities outside school, compared to 59% of students that spend one or more hours in school activities outside the classroom.
  • Sixty-eight percent (68%) of males and 82% of females spend one or more hours per week doing homework.
  • Sixty percent (60%) of those who don’t smoke and 62% of those who don’t drink alcohol eat dinner with their family three or more nights per week.

TEENS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Forty-two percent (42%) of males and 46% of females use the internet two or more hours per week.
  • Seventy-three percent (73%) of males and 72% of females report their parents do not limit their computer or internet use, however, 45% of all teens report their parents often know the internet sites they visit and the computer games they play.
  • Seventy-seven percent (77%) of males and 84% of females have an online profile and over half of the teens report these profiles are private.
  • Thirteen percent (13%) of all teens have been a victim of cyberbullying while 19% of females report they have been a victim.
  • Nine percent (9%) of all teens report they have engaged in cyberbullying.

SCHOOL

  • Seventy-three percent (73%) of teens report getting “mostly B’s” or better in school.
  • A significant majority of teens report rules in their schools are fairly enforced, they enjoy going to school, teachers respect, listen, really care about them and teachers have high expectations of them.  A higher percentage of these teens report getting mostly B’s or higher.
  • Only 41% of teens report that parents would turn them into school officials if their parents had knowledge that the teen violated a school code.
  • In general, if teens feel their parents will report a school code violation or assign consequences at home, they also report higher grades in their course work at school.

COMMUNITY

  • Overall, about 90% of the teens surveyed feel safe at home, school, and in their community.
  • About three fourths (73%) of teens agree that they can count on police if they are having a problem or need help.
  • Eighty-seven percent (87%) of teens report adults in town would tell their parents if they saw the teen involved in a negative behavior.
  • Seventy percent (70%) of teens say the adults in the community respect and listen to their opinions, values and ideas.
  • Nearly all teens report that it is important to help other people and indicate they also care about other people’s feelings.
  • Seventy-seven percent (77%) of teens are significantly or somewhat attached to their communities.
  • Teens that are significantly attached to their communities are far less likely to engage in negative behaviors.

INDICATORS OF POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

  • Eighty-seven percent (87%) of teens report the presence of 16 or more of the 31 Positive Youth Development Indicators identified in the survey – these indicators approximate the 40 developmental assets identified by the Search Institute.
  • Almost half (45%) of females have more than 16 Positive Youth Development Indicators, while 43% of males report the same.
  • Ninety-one percent (91%) of teens with more than 16 indicators report they have not smoked in the past 30 days, whereas 88% of teens with 0-7 indicators report smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days.
  • Only 11% of teens with more than 24 indicators report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, whereas 75% of teens with 0-7 Positive Youth Development Indicators report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • Ninety-six (96%) of teens with more than 24 indicators report enjoy going to school, whereas 22% of teens with 0-7 Positive Youth Development Indicators report they enjoy going to school.
  • The findings show that youth having more Positive Youth Development Indicators tend to have higher grades, spend more hours in out of school activities and serve in leadership roles.

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