Multi-State Results from an Online Tool for Assessing Secondary School Norms,
1999 - 2005

H. Wesley Perkins, Ph.D., Dept. of Anthropology/Sociology
David W. Craig, Ph.D., Dept. of Chemistry

Hobart & William Smith Colleges


More than 24,000 secondary students from 50 middle and high schools in eight regionally diverse states have been surveyed using an online instrument. A strategy has been developed that preserves anonymity and validates user responses. Measures of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drug use, ATOD access in schools, parental alcohol policies, riding with a drinking driver, willingness to report weapons seen at school, and seat belt use demonstrate a wide discrepancy between actual school norms and students’ perceptions of the norms in all instances. Positive normative messages constructed from these results for schools will be shared. Results will also be reported from a multivariate analysis comparing the relative strength of actual norms that vary across school sites with the strength of the individual’s perception of the norms for predicting individual personal high-risk behavior.