Mobile Youth and Poverty Study

Project Description

The Mobile Youth and Poverty Study (MYPS) consists of several datasets relating to poverty and adolescent risk in the Mobile, AL metropolitan statistical area. Its core dataset is the Mobile Youth Survey (MYS), administered annually to adolescents in impoverished neighborhoods in the Mobile MSA between 1998 and 2011. Its purpose was to examine risk and protective factors associated with substance use and abuse, violence and aggression, and sexual risk behavior among adolescents aged 10-18. Over 12,000 youths enrolled in the MYS, producing nearly 36,000 annual data points.

The MYS was conducted in impoverished neighborhoods each summer by interns recruited from colleges and universities around the country. This created an intensive neighborhood presence which helped to establish trust between residents and researchers and resulted in overall high participation and retention rates. Over time, other studies have been conducted with MYS subsamples, including studies of cognitive processing and decision making, gene-environment effects on mental health and behavior, and sleep. In addition, administrative databases have been accessed to provide additional information about MYS participants, including their school records, juvenile court records, and housing records. A geographical information system has also been established, allowing us to link MYPS data to geographical databases (e.g., U.S. Census, crime reports).