FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
June 3, 2010 Contact: William Gerrish
Results of 2009 Connecticut School Health Survey now available
Hartford – The Department of Public Health (DPH) in partnership with the State Department of Education (CSDE) today released the results of the 2009 Connecticut School Health Survey. The latest survey found that family and social support were fundamental in protecting youth from risky behaviors including suicide, drug and alcohol use, and sexual activity.
“New survey data continue to demonstrate the importance of families in helping youth avoid risky behaviors. Connecticut youth who have supportive adults in their lives are less likely to consider suicide, drink alcohol, drink and drive, smoke tobacco, use drugs or experience sexual activity,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin.
CSDE Commissioner Mark K. McQuillan noted that while many students reported involvement in risky behaviors, such as smoking or drinking, the survey provides evidence that parental involvement has a strong influence on students’ behaviors.
“This survey tells us that the attention and concern of caring adults makes a difference in teenagers’ lives,” said Commissioner McQuillan. “Parents and teachers can have a great deal of influence on young people in making positive choices in their lives.”
“Students who say that their families provide them with love and support are approximately 30% less likely to drink alcohol, binge drink, have sex or be depressed Students with supportive families are 50% less likely to smoke cigarettes, experience dating violence or smoke marijuana, and are five times less likely to report having attempted suicide,” Commissioner McQuillan stated. He also noted that “students’ health is inextricably linked to academic success and it is vital that schools, families and communities partner to support students in making healthy and responsible choices.”
The survey also points out some of the difficulties students encounter when they experience bullying. One in four students said they had been bullied or harassed during the past 12 months, with 9th graders being more likely (35%) than 12th graders (18%) to have been bullied. Students who say they have been bullied are more likely to get less sleep, have property stolen at school, miss school because they feel unsafe, carry a weapon to school, experience dating violence, be depressed and attempt suicide.
“Schools take the issue of bullying and harassment very seriously and are working diligently to ensure that safe and healthy learning environments are in place to protect students,” said Commissioner McQuillan. “Open communication between parents, students, and teachers can help to stop bullying. Our focus must be on providing a positive school climate conducive to understanding, support and respect in our schools.”
The survey is administered in two sections in Connecticut: the Youth Tobacco Component (YTC) and the Youth Behavior Component (YBC). The YTC is a comprehensive survey of tobacco use, access, cessation, knowledge and attitudes, and exposure among Connecticut students in grades 6-12; the YBC is intended to monitor priority public health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States.
Nationally, the YBC is called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results from the national YRBS today. National and Connecticut results can be viewed at: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm
In 2009, 4,616 middle and high school students completed the YTC and 2,392 youth completed the YBC. Both components met the CDC criteria to be considered representative of high school students in Connecticut (and middle school students for the YTC).
To view more results from the Connecticut School Health Survey, please visit http://www.ct.gov/dph/cshs.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.