Interview Methods

Interview Methods

Content of the Main Youth Survey Questionnaire

In the initial round, 8,984 youth completed the Youth Questionnaire, the main component of the NLSY97 data set. In each survey round after round 1, the Youth Questionnaire is administered to every eligible respondent who can be located and who agrees to be interviewed. Table 2 shows the Youth content.

Table 2. Content of the Youth Questionnaire

Section Abbreviation used as prefix for question names Description of Data Collected
Information YINF In R1, verified youth data in the Screener, Household Roster, and Nonresident Roster Questionnaire.
Household Information YHHI Confirms and updates information on members of the youth's household after R1.
CPS YCPS In R1, 4, and 10, established employment status using questions from the Current Population Survey.
Schooling YSCH Gathers information about current schooling and school environment.
College Choice YCOC In R7 and up, gathers information about college choice, asking the youth for information such as application, admissions, and financial aid.
Peers/Opportunity Sets YPRS In R1, provided the youth with a list of activities and asked him or her to estimate the percentage of peers who participate in each.
Domains of Influence YDOM In R7-9, asked the youth about people influencing their decisions.
Time Use YTIM In R1-3, asked the youth about time spent during the day and week on various activities.
Employment YEMP Collects data about each employer for whom the youth worked since age 14; also includes data on freelance employment for youths 12 and up.
Training YTRN Asks about training programs the youth has participated in outside of regular schooling.
Health YHEA Asks about general state of youth's health and long-standing problems he or she has.
Self-Administered YSAQ Completed by youth; asks sensitive questions. Subsections include household and neighborhood environment, relationship with parents, puberty, dating and sexual activity, pregnancy and abortion, attitudes toward self, substance use, and criminal and delinquent activities.  (This section is divided into SAQ1 and SAQ2 sections in round 5 and beyond.)
Marriage YMAR Asks questions about any marriages or marriage-like relationships that the youth may have had.
Fertility YFER Gathers information about any biological children of the youth and the parentage of each.
Collects details about child care arrangements or child care availability. R5 and up. (Some rounds gathered more details than others.)
Welfare Knowledge YWEK In R7, asked respondents about their knowledge of welfare.
Program Participation YPRG Gathers data about any assistance programs in which the youth and the youth's spouse/partner may have participated.
Income / Assets YINC/YAST Collects data on the income and assets of youth and the youth's spouse/partner. These questions were combined in the YINC section in R1 but split into two sections for subsequent rounds.
Expectations YEXP In R1, 4, and 5,  asked youths to predict characteristics of their lives at certain points in the future.
PIAT Math YPIA Administered the PIAT Math Assessment to eligible respondents.
Political Participation YPOL
In R8, asked about being registered to vote, voting in presidential election, and interest in government and public affairs. In R10, 12 and 14, asked about being registered to vote and voting in November election. (R15 asked only about voting in election.)
Best Friends YFRD
In R6 and 8, asked about relationship with best friend, including level of closeness and frequency of communication.
Childhood Retrospective YCHR
Completed by youth (R6-9), asked questions retrospectively for youth whose parents did not answer questions about youth's childhood.
Contraceptive Choice YPECC
Completed by a subsample of youth in R11, asked about contraceptive choices, costs, and consequences (probability of getting pregnant, contracting an STD, partner objecting, etc.)
Tell Us What You Think YTEL Completed by youth (R10 and up), asks questions about respondents' opinions and life. Questions vary.

Interviewer Remarks: Each NLSY97 questionnaire also includes an interviewer remarks section, which interviewers complete after finishing the interview with the respondent. This section records objective information about the interview, such as the presence of another person during the survey, where the interview took place, and the language in which the questionnaire was administered. Interviewers are also asked to provide an overall assessment of the interview. See Interviewer Remarks, Characteristics & Contacts for more details.