Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

History of the YRBS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in collaboration with representatives from state and local departments of education and health, other federal agencies, and national education and health organizations to monitor six priority health behaviors including:

  • behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence;
  • sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV;
  • alcohol and drug use;
  • tobacco use;
  • dietary behaviors; and
  • physical activity.

Since 1991, the YRBS has been conducted in odd numbered years and administered to students in grades 9th through 12th at scientifically selected high schools across the state. The survey is voluntary and anonymous. From 1991 through 2013, the survey was administered by the South Dakota Department of Education in collaboration with multiple state agencies, including the Department of Health. In the spring of 2013, the South Dakota Department of Education administered the survey. Then, in August of 2013, the Department of Health took over administration of the South Dakota YRBS and compiled the 2013 report. Today, administration of the survey resides with the South Dakota Department of Health.

Over the past 26 years, South Dakota has secured weighted data every year it administered the survey except for 2017. This is important as weighted results can be generalized to all public, tribal, and BIE South Dakota high school students while unweighted results are only representative of the students who participated in the survey.


In order to develop the most effective and targeted prevention and early intervention programs, it is critical to understand the risks, and social problems faced by South Dakota’s teenagers. The YRBS allows students to self-report on the pervasiveness of some of the leading behaviors that may endanger their health or safety and/or hinder their academic success. In turn, these results highlight how these behaviors change over time and allow monitoring of progress toward prevention and intervention goals.

YRBS Reports



Virginia Peterson
YRBS Coordinator
Office of Health Statistics | South Dakota Department of Health
615 E. 4th Street | Pierre, SD 57501-1700
Phone: 605.773.3365 | E-mail:

Related Links



Share via: