Boys Town Study of Youth Development (ICPSR 34595)

Version Date: Jul 11, 2013 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Ronald L. Akers, University of Florida; Marcia Radosevich; Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, University of Florida; Marvin Krohn, University of Florida

Version V1


The Boys Town Study of Youth Development surveyed 3,065 students in junior high and high schools in the Midwestern United States (predominantly in Nebraska and Iowa) in the mid-1970s. The study focused on adolescent substance use and deviant behavior, school aspirations, and parental and friendship relationships. Additional topics included opinions toward, influences for or against, and legal ramifications of substance use, drug/alcohol education programs and the availability and perceived difficulty in obtaining drugs and or alcohol. Respondents were asked whether they had used tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, stimulants, depressants, and stronger drugs such as narcotics and psychedelics, the frequency and quantity of use, effects they felt using a substance for the first time, and the usual effects they felt if used more than once. Those who had never used any substances were asked about their perceived effects of use. Delinquent behavior engaged in by the respondents such as truancy issues, running away from home, and theft, as well as behavior while under the influence of substances such as fighting, being stopped by the police, and being in an accident were also asked about. Demographic information includes age, sex, religion, religiosity, grade point average, and grade level.

Akers, Ronald L., Radosevich, Marcia, Lanza-Kaduce, Lonn, and Krohn, Marvin. Boys Town Study of Youth Development. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-07-11.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote

Users are reminded that these data are to used solely for statsitical analysis and reporting of aggregated information and not for the investigation of specific individuals.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

To test a social learning explanation of drinking and drug behavior.

No attempt was made to get a probability sample or insure that the sample was regionally or nationally representative. Sampling design involved purposive selection of several school districts of varying sizes and demographic characteristics located in communities ranging from rural to urban. In smaller districts, sampled from each secondary school; in larger districts selected junior and senior high schools. Classrooms served as clusters, and in consultation with principal, PI's sampled at random (but purposively to give a cross-section of the school population) 2-3 classrooms per grade level from among the required courses or from among the general enrollment classes in those grades. The number of classes sampled depended on class size, with an aim toward including enough classes to include responses from at least 10% of total school enrollment or a minimum of 100 respondents per school, whichever was greater.


Adolescents between 7th and 12 grade living in the Midwestern United States, particularly Iowa and Nebraska.


Major variable groups included: demographics, social learning variables, attitudes on drug/drinking, substance use history, perceived (or actual) results of substance use and delinquent behavior inquiries.

Across all districts, 74 percent of parental permission forms were returned, 95 percent of those returned had permission granted, and 95 percent of those with permission granted actually took the survey.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Akers, Ronald L., Marcia Radosevich, Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, and Marvin Krohn. Boys Town Study of Youth Development. ICPSR34595-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-07-11.

2013-07-11 Improved value and variable labels and question text. Created variable groups in the codebook.

2013-05-17 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.

This study is maintained and distributed by the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP). NAHDAP is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).