DefinitionPercentage of adolescents (students in grades 9-12) who responded "3", "4", or "5 or more adults" on the [http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)] to the question: "Besides your parents, how many adults would you feel comfortable seeking help from if you had an important question affecting your life?"
NumeratorWeighted number of adolescents (students in grades 9-12) who responded on the YRBS with "3", "4", or "5 or more adults" to the question: "Besides your parents, how many adults would you feel comfortable seeking help from if you had an important question affecting your life?"
DenominatorWeighted number of adolescents (students in grades 9-12) who responded on the YRBS with complete and valid responses to the question.
Data Interpretation IssuesAlaska has conducted a statewide Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 1995 and biennially from 2003. Weighted data were not obtained in 2005 and therefore no statewide estimates are available for that year. A YRBS survey conducted in 1999 did not include the Anchorage School District and therefore was not considered a valid statewide estimate. No YRBS survey was conducted in Alaska in 1997 and 2001.
Traditional high schools are sometimes called comprehensive high schools. They are public high schools that are distinct from alternative high schools, which serve students at risk of not graduating, charter schools, correspondence schools, and students enrolled in high school in correctional facilities.
Responses are weighted to reflect youth attending public traditional high schools in Alaska.
The question "Besides your parents, how many adults would you feel comfortable seeking help from if you had an important question affecting your life?" has been asked on the YRBS for Alaska as a state-added option since 2003.
Why Is This Important?Family and social support, including quality relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and the community, are associated with positive health status and outcomes. Family and social support can help provide youth with the support, resources, and opportunities needed to succeed as well as build resiliency to life stressors. There is growing evidence that for youth, having adults in their lives to whom they are bonded and with whom they have good communication is a protective factor. Protective factors can reduce the negative effects of life stressors and can increase an individual's ability to avoid risk behaviors. Enhancing protective factors among youth can help children and adolescents avoid behaviors that place them at risk for adverse health and educational outcomes.^1^[[br]]
1. Building Effective Youth-Adults Partnerships. Transitions: The Rights. Respect. Responsibility. Campaign Volume 14, No. 1, October 2001. [http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/publications-a-z/672-building-effective-youth-adult-partnerships Building Effective Youth-Adults Partnerships]
Healthy People Objective: Increase the proportion of adolescents who have an adult in their lives with whom they can talk about serious problemsU.S. Target: 83.2%
Other ObjectivesHealthy Alaskans 2020 Leading Health Indicator 10: Increase the percentage of adolescents (high school students in grades 9-12) with three or more adults (besides their parents) from whom they feel comfortable seeking help to 47% by 2020.
How Are We Doing?In 2017, the percentage of Alaska traditional high school students having a support system of 3 or more adults (beside their parents) was 45.4% for the statewide average and 39.4% for Alaska Native students, both below the Healthy Alaskans 2020 goal of 47.0%. Less than one-third of adolescents in the Y-K Delta region feel comfortable seeking help from 3 or more adults (besides their parent(s)).
Prevalence rates from the YRBS are initially presented for having an adult support system by all Alaskan and Alaska Native students. Subsequent analyses display the presence of adult support systems by demographic subpopulations (i.e., sex, age, race/ethnicity, ethnicity, grade level, and academic achievement) and regions.
Evidence-based PracticesAs part of the Healthy Alaskans 2020 health improvement process, groups of Alaska subject matter experts met over a period of months in a rigorous review process to identify and prioritize strategies to address the 25 health priorities. Public health partners around the state are aligning work around these approaches adapted to Alaska's unique needs. Below are the strategies identified for enhancing adolescent support systems.
[[br]]Create positive school climates that promote connectedness and healthy youth-adult relationships.
[[br]]School climate is the quality and character of the experiences of students, parents, educators, and school personnel. School climate reflects the values and community norms of the school community. A positive school climate promotes childhood and youth development and fosters connectedness. School connectedness is "the belief by students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals" (CDC, 2009). Relationships are essential to adolescent health. Connections with parents, peers, and other adults/mentors support and influence youth development.
[[br]]Thapa A, Cohen J, Guffey S, Higgins-D'Alessandro A. A Review of School Climate Research. Review of Educational Research. 2013; 83(3): 357-385.
Blum, R. School Connectedness: Improving the Lives of Students. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2005.
[[br]]Provide services and opportunities to support all young people in developing a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and empowerment.
[[br]]Research shows that healthy youth development strategies that provide all youth with the supports needed to become successful and competent adults are promising approaches for preventing or reducing a wide range of adolescent health-risk behaviors. Positive Youth Development (PYD) programs promote mental and emotional wellbeing by providing the supports and opportunities youth need to successfully transition to adulthood. PYD programs build on young persons' strengths and talents to help them gain the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy and productive adults. PYD programs are most effective when implemented by entire communities with meaningful youth participation.
[[br]]Sieving RE, McRee AL, McMorris BJ, et al. Youth-adult connectedness: a key protective factor for adolescent health. Am J Prev Med. March 2017; 52(3 Suppl 3): S275-S278. [https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/47602]. Accessed August 13, 2018.
University of Washington - Positive Youth Development in the United States: [http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/PositiveYouthDev99/]
Bernat DH, Resnick MD. Healthy Youth Development: Science and Strategies. J Public Health Management Practice. 2006; November(Suppl): S10-S16.
Institute of Medicine National Research Council. Report Brief: Community Programs to Promote Youth Development. 2004. Retrieved from [http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2004/Community-Programs-to-Promote-Youth-Development/FINALCommunityPrograms8Pager.pdf]
A listing of strategies, actions, and key partners on this measure can be found at: [http://hss.state.ak.us/ha2020/assets/Actions-Partners_10_SocialSupport.pdf].