Every two years, the Vermont Department of Health in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Education sponsor the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) that is completed by middle school and high school students in the state. The survey is part of a national initiative that is used to monitor risk behaviors that contribute to death and disability. Each round, about 20,000 students in Vermont complete the 109-item high school version of the survey. In 2015, a question was added to the Vermont high school survey that asks about participation levels in afterschool and extracurricular activities. We have been able to cross-tabulate high school students’ afterschool participation data with other risk and asset behaviors to help support what we already know about participation in out-of-school-time activities: it is strongly correlated with increased healthy behaviors and decreased negative or risk behaviors.

For example, in 2017 afterschool participation was correlated with:

  • A 34% – 51% increased likelihood that youth felt that they mattered to people in their community (with the likelihood increasing as weekly participation increased).
  • A 50% decreased likelihood that youth would drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • A 20% – 26% increased likelihood that youth would plan on attending post-high school education  (with the likelihood increasing as weekly participation increased).
  • A 47% decreased likelihood that youth would attend school under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For more information on YRBS in Vermont, visit: healthvermont.gov/health-statistics-vital-records/population-health-surveys-data/youth-risk-behavior-survey-yrbs

Want to learn more? Our Research Analyst Erin Schwab wrote a monthly series unpacking data from the 2017 YRBS survey in connection with afterschool and extracurricular participation. Read these Data Digest blog posts here: