Teen assessment survey released in Madison County

The Madison County Youth Bureau released results for the 2018 Teen Assessment Project survey. The TAP survey was administered in December 2018 to students attending nine Madison County’s school districts: Canastota, Cazenovia, Chittenango, DeRuyter, Hamilton, Madison, Morrisville-Eaton, Oneida and Stockbridge Valley and programs at Madison-Oneida BOCES.

The survey asked questions relating to student worries, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, influences on behavior, perceptions of school and community, relationships with parents, other adults and friends, mental health, perceptions of self, sexual behaviors and perceptions, sexual and physical abuse and violence and leisure-time activities.

The 2018 survey included new questions relating to electronic vapor use and synthetic marijuana. As electronic vapor use is a statewide concern, the report’s release is timely to review what is happening locally with respect to teen use and access.

The TAP Survey in 2018 was administered electronically for the first time. In partnership with the Upstate Institute at Colgate University, the Madison County Youth Bureau created an online version of the survey. The 2018 survey saw an increase of 41 percent participation with 3,373 students in grades 7 through 12 in Madison County participating. In 2014, when the survey was last administered, 2,388 students participated.

“We are pleased that the transition from a paper survey to an electronic survey was relatively easy,” said Julie Dudrick, project director, Upstate Institute, Colgate University. “Not only did it lead to a 41-percent increase in the number of students in Madison County who were able to participate and as a result meant that the results are more reflective of the voices of Madison County youth, but it also gave the schools and departments that need the data the ability to access and analyze it as their specific needs dictate.”

Although the 2018 survey added almost 1,000 responses over that of 2014, results were still very consistent with that of previous surveys and reflect positive gains. The majority of the students perceive their relations with family, peers, school and the community as positive. The results re-confirm the finding from all the previous TAP Surveys that the majority of youth in Madison County are not engaging in negative, illegal or harmful activities and that the value of involved parents and families is critical to healthy development of our youth.

Also, Madison County continues to see reduced use of tobacco and other drugs, with an increase in age of first use in these areas. In addition, those who report they had been electronically bullied was cut in half.

The survey showed an increase in students who said they felt constantly teased, threatened or harassed by other youth. Those who reported feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts also increased. When it comes to use of electronic vapor products, Madison County is under the national numbers, but this is still a very serious issue, especially with the major health concerns seen nationally.

“The aggregate results of the survey provide timely and important data for reflection, planning and development of initiatives that support the healthy development of the youth of Madison County,” said Tina Louis, Madison County Youth Bureau Director. “The planning and completion of this project would not have been possible without the support of Colgate University. There is a lot of content to work with respect to the data, so it should be thoughtfully considered and used appropriately to address true concerns.”

The report is available at madisoncounty.ny.gov/151/Teen-Assessment-Project-Report. Questions regarding the survey and data can be directed to Louis at 315-366-2574 or by e-mail at tina.louis@madisoncounty.ny.gov.

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