Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences


About the Youth2000 survey series: National youth health and wellbeing surveys

Overview


The Youth2000 survey series ask a large, representative sample of secondary school students from over approximately a third of all high school in New Zealand a wide range of questions that contribute to health and wellbeing of young people in New Zealand. These include questions about ethnicity & culture, physical health, food & activities, substance use, sexual health, injuries and violence, home and family health, school achievement and participation, neighbourhood environment, spirituality and access to healthcare.

Over the past eleven years the AHRG has collected data on these topics from a total of 28,000 students who completed the Youth ’12, Youth ’07 and Youth’01 surveys. This comprehensive questionnaire allows the AHRG to take an ecological approach to identifying the risks and protective factors in young people’s lives.

We are in the process of securing funding for the fourth survey wave and hope to conduct this in 2018.

Methods


The AHRG has a well-established methodology for gaining representative and accurate information from young people in secondary schools throughout New Zealand. Around 100 randomly selected secondary schools throughout the country are invited to take part (approximately a third of all high schools in New Zealand). About 20% of the year 9-13 students at each school are surveyed and each year we have aimed to survey about 10,000 students altogether throughout New Zealand. The survey is completed during school time and takes about an hour to complete. Those students who agree to take part complete a survey about themselves and about issues affecting their health and wellbeing. Topics covered are ethnic identity and culture, family relationships, school, injuries and violence, health and healthcare, emotional health, food and eating, leisure activities, sexual health, alcohol, smoking and other drugs, and community involvement. The survey is set up to be private and anonymous. Students answer the questions on small hand-held computers/tablets. Each student has their own device and can read the questions off the screen and also hear them read out through headphones. Students answer questions by touching the appropriate box on the screen. The survey program is designed to not ask questions about sensitive topics that do not apply to the particular student. For example, all students are asked if they have ever smoked a cigarette, but only those who answer ‘yes’ are asked any further questions about smoking. For those who answer ‘no’ the program will skip to the next topic. This means that students will not be asked detailed questions about things that they have no direct experience with. As part of the survey a research assistant measured each student’s height and weight, and asked which neighbourhood the student lives in. This was done as privately as possible.