Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth, 2016 [Restricted-Use] (ICPSR 36948)

Version Date: Dec 21, 2017 View help for published

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MTF 2016 (8th/10th and 12th Grade) [Restricted-Use]

This data collection is part of the Monitoring the Future series that explores changes in important values, behaviors, and lifestyle orientations of contemporary American youth in eighth, tenth, and twelfth grades. The collection provides two datasets for each year since 1976 that are accessible only through the ICPSR Virtual Data Enclave VDE) and include original variables, including the unaltered weight variable, that in the public-use data were altered or omitted: one dataset without State and Zip Code and one dataset including State and Zip Code. Use of the geographic identifiers such as state or zip code is limited and researchers interested in these variables are encouraged to read FAQs: About MTF Restricted-Use Geographic and Other Variables. Also included as part of each annual collection is a zip archive of the Monitoring the Future public-use data and documentation for each respective year. The basic research design used by the Monitoring the Future study involves annual data collections from eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders throughout the coterminous United States during the spring of each year. The 8th/10th grade surveys used four different questionnaire forms (and only two forms from 1991-1996) rather than the six used with seniors. Identical forms are used for both eighth and tenth grades, and for the most part, questionnaire content is drawn from the twelfth-grade questionnaires. Thus, key demographic variables and measures of drug use and related attitudes and beliefs are generally identical for all three grades. However, many fewer questions about lifestyles and values are included in the 8th/10th grade forms. Drugs covered by this survey include tobacco, smokeless tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, hashish, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, inhalants, steroids, LSD, hallucinogens, amphetamines (stimulants), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Quaaludes (methaqualone), barbiturates (tranquilizers), cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin, and GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate). Other topics include attitudes toward religion, changing roles for women, educational aspirations, self-esteem, exposure to drug education, and violence and crime (both in and out of school).

Miech, Richard A., Johnston, Lloyd D., Bachman, Jerald G., O’Malley, Patrick M., Schulenberg, John E., and Patrick, Megan E. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth, 2016 [Restricted-Use]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-21.

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Zip code

Users are reminded that these data are to be used solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information, and not for the investigation of specific individuals or organizations.

Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement. Data are provided via ICPSR's Virtual Data Enclave (VDE). Apply for access to these data through the ICPSR VDE portal. Information and instructions are available within the data portal. For further assistance please reference the VDE Guide to learn about the application process, about using the VDE, and how to request disclosure review of VDE output.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Conducted by the University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Survey Research Center.

This collection provides the original Monitoring the Future variables, including the unaltered weight variable, that in the public-use data were altered or omitted. Dataset 1 provides the original variables but not State and Zip Code and Dataset 2 includes State and Zip Code as well as the other original variables. Users will need to link the original variables using RESPONDENT_ID with the public-use variables using either RESPONDENT_ID or V4 to perform most analyses of interest. Note that the 8th/10th grade data must be sorted both by year and by grade before merging as each year includes the same ID number twice (once for 8th grade and once for 10th grade).

The MTF sample is drawn to generate representative samples of the four Census Bureau regions of the country (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), but it does not generate representative samples of smaller geographic areas such as states, counties, or cities. For information about using the geographic state and zip code variables, please contact MTF directly at

All Western region data are available in this collection that were intentionally changed to missing data (-9) in the public-use version of the MTF data.

The zip archive provides the user guide for each annual data collection that contains a year-to-year cross-time question index for the MTF surveys, which is sorted by subject area, item reference number, and questionnaire form.

Frequency and percentage distributions displayed in the codebooks are unweighted to simplify both the production of the codebooks and their interpretation by the analyst.

A multistage area probability sample design was used involving three selection stages: (1) geographic areas or primary sampling units (PSUs), (2) schools (or linked groups of schools) within PSUs, and (3) students within sampled schools. For more information, see the Sampling Information in the codebook introduction and Sample Size and Student Response Rates in Appendix B.

Longitudinal: Trend / Repeated Cross-section

Eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students in the contiguous United States.

survey data

See Appendix B in the codebook for information about response rates.


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:
  • Miech, Richard A., Lloyd D. Johnston, Jerald G. Bachman, Patrick M. O'Malley, John E. Schulenberg, and Megan E. Patrick. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth, 2016 [Restricted-Use]. ICPSR36948-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-12-21.

2017-12-21 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:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data available in the virtual data enclave contain the unaltered weighting variable (V5). In the public-use data in the zip archive for reasons of confidentiality the weight variable (V5 in the 8th/10th grade data and 12th grade data prior to 2012 or ARCHIVE_WT in the 12th grade file since 2012) was altered from its original version to a modified version prior to public distribution of the data. This results in slight discrepancies in the percentages and N sizes in the annual ISR volumes and those from weighted analyses of the public-use datasets. Typically, the variation is less than 1%. No such variation should be present when using the weight variable in Dataset 1 or Dataset 2 in the virtual data enclave.


  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • 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).