What We Plan to Do


Partner with public high schools in the greater Los Angeles area to survey 2,500 teens over 4 years. Our goal is to recruit at least 90% of 9th graders (class of ’24) in each participating school. We will collect written parental consent for every participant who will be asked a wide range of questions regarding mental health, personality, social factors, attitudes, health behaviors, and drug use. USC staff will administer the electronic survey in the classroom via the student’s laptop or tablet. The survey will take approximately 60 minutes, or one class period to complete.


A researcher from our project will attend one teacher meeting to explain the study to the teachers and answer their questions.

A researcher will attend the first 15 minutes of a class in a given subject (for example English), explain the study to students, and distribute parental consent forms. An envelope will be left in the classroom for the returned parental consent forms.

The researcher will return to collect the forms within 2 school days. The researcher will return one last time to collect more consent forms and answer any questions. These visits should take no more than 5 minutes of class time. 

We will need one full classroom period to administer our survey. It usually takes students about 50 minutes to complete the survey. Highly trained USC data collectors will administer the survey. Teachers will need to remain in the room during data collection but will not be requested to assist with the collection process. Students who choose not to participate or whose parents declined to have their children participate will also stay in the classroom and will be asked to work on a classroom assignment, read or finish homework. Students that complete the survey will receive a small gift. Students who are absent can take the survey online at a later time.

We will return to the school every semester to survey students again 9th-12th grade which will provide important information on how opinions and behaviors change over time. A copy of the final survey questionnaire will be made available to staff, teachers, and parents.

No student will participate without written parental permission and written permission given by the students themselves. Parents or students can decide to stop being in the study at any time.

Your Participation

Your participation is highly valued. Your school will contribute important evidence to strengthen drug prevention efforts and promote adolescent health and well-being. Join USC and other local high schools in this effort to gain understanding about current trends effecting teen health.

Study activities that will take place on your campus:

  • Initial meeting with teachers to describe the study and get feedback.
  • Class time (the first 15 minutes) to describe the study to the students and distribute consent forms.
  • We ask that we be able to leave an envelope with materials in the classroom.
  • One class period per semester to administer the survey. Students will take the electronic survey on their laptop or tablet. Teachers will NOT be required to administer surveys.
  • We request classroom rosters with the students’ first and last names. We do NOT need social security numbers, telephone numbers or addresses. We request parent contact information (to send reminders to fill out the consent form).

COVID-19 Emergency Protocol

In the event that schools will operate strictly online OR not allow outside visitors on their campus due to COVID-19 preventative measures, our team will resort to an online data collection protocol. In this case, parents and students will agree to participate via electronic webconsent. We request that the survey be considered similarly as curriculum and that online classroom time be provided for students to take the survey. We will adapt this protocol depending on the measures schools need to take in the fall of 2020 to be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic.