Who did it?
The Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (MYRBS) is a student health survey that has been conducted every two years since 1990 by the Massachusetts Department of Education HIV/AIDS Program with funding and technical assistance provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Massachusetts is one of 34 states that administered a youth risk behavior survey in 1999 to monitor the prevalence of adolescent risk behaviors that have a potentially negative impact on student learning and may ultimately lead to life-threatening illness and injury.
Who’s in it?
The 1999 MYRBS was administered from February to June 1999 in randomly selected public high schools across the state. In each participating school, three to five classes were randomly selected to participate. A total of 4,415 students completed the survey (79% of the students enrolled in the classes originally selected). Students who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or reported any same-sex sexual contact comprised 5.5% of students participating in the survey. Of those students with any history of sexual experience, 9.4% were sexual minority youth (those who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or had a history of same-sex sexual contact).
What did they say?
Sexual minority students reported substantially higher rates of school-related violence than their peers.
- Sexual minority students were more than twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school in the prior year (31.5% of sexual minority students vs. 12.9% of others).
- Sexual minority students were more than three times likely to report having carried a weapon to school in the past month (21.5% of sexual minority students vs. 6.5% of others).
- Sexual minority students were three times likelier to report having been threatened or injured with a weapon at school in the past year (23.5% of sexual minority students vs. 7.8% of others).
- Sexual minority students more often reported that they had missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe (19.1% of sexual minority students vs. 5.6% of others).
Because of their sampling, results from this study are representative of Massachusetts youth as a whole. However, the results are not generalizable to the rest of the country.
Where can I find out more?
The full MYRBS report is available on-line: