National Addiction and HIV Data Archive Program

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).

Boys Town Study of Youth Development (ICPSR 34595)

Alternate Title:   Boystown

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


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.

Access Notes

  • 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.


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Study Description


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.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    adolescents, alcohol, alcohol consumption, attitudes, authority, controlled drugs, delinquent behavior, drug education, drug use, family relationships, marijuana, morality, parent child relationship, parental attitudes, parental influence, peer influence, punishment, religion, social environment, stimulants, tobacco use, work

Geographic Coverage:    Iowa, Nebraska, United States

Unit of Observation:    individual

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

Data Type(s):    survey data


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

Sample:    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.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Mode of Data Collection:    paper and pencil interview (PAPI)

Description of Variables:    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.

Response Rates:    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.

Extent of Processing:   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.

Restrictions: 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.


Original ICPSR Release:   2013-05-17

Version History:

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



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