Month: January 2013

FAQ: Is RAAPS a Reliable and Validated Tool?

Did you know that seventy-five percent of adolescent morbidity and mortality is a result of risky behavior? The Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) is a 21-question adolescent risk screening tool developed to identify the behaviors contributing most to adolescent morbidity, mortality, and social problems. A study was completed using psychometric methods to establish face-, content-, and criterion-related validity and inter-rater and equivalence reliability.

Methods Used in the Study

Focus groups with adolescents (n = 21) and health care professionals (n = 7) were facilitated to establish face validity. Adolescent expert review (n = 10) was gathered to establish content validity and reliability. A retrospective chart audit of adolescents (n = 263) who completed both the RAAPS and the Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services risk questionnaire was conducted to assess criterion-related validity and equivalence between paired question responses using Cohen kappa measure, percent agreement, and Fisher exact test.


Validity and reliability of the RAAPS as a measure of adolescent risk behaviors was established. Results indicate RAAPS is an acceptable screening tool in identifying adolescent risk behaviors, contributing most to morbidity, mortality, and social problems.

Read the full abstract
of the study.  A full listing of publications and presentations can be found in the About page.

Have a question you would like featured in the RAAPS FAQ blog post series? Comment on our blog below or email us.

FAQ: How Do I Effectively Respond to Risk Behaviors?

Now that I have asked the questions, how do I effectively respond to the risk behaviors that have been shared with me?

Since the RAAPS is a screening tool, not a diagnostic tool, it is recommended that protocols for risk intervention and referral should be established prior to implementation. For professionals using the online RAAPS, health messages will appear based on the risky behaviors identified by individual youth. These health messages can be used as a resource when providing risk reduction counseling. Messages have been created based on current literature and include teen friendly ideas for changing behaviors as well as self-efficacy messages. Click here for more information on how to improve your skills in motivating adolescents to change their risky behaviors through training.

Did you know?
At Possibilities for Change, we train teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals in effective communication strategies by offering the Improving Adolescent Health by Motivating Change workshops. You can choose a format that works best for you: a 4 hour, 1 day, or 2 day workshop. This interactive training teaches you to use motivational interviewing strategies which improve your ability to identify risk behaviors, communicate effectively, and motivate adolescents toward positive behavior changes. Read what professionals have said following participation in the workshops.

We want you to feel confident in your skills! Contact us to work more effectively with adolescents today!

Have a question you would like featured in the RAAPS FAQ blog post series? Comment on our blog below or email us

FAQ: How Do I Document the Counseling Session?

You must use your counseling skills and clinical judgment to determine the level of risk (minimal, moderate or high) for each question the adolescent has identified as a risk for themselves. This would be identified as any question with the box on the right checked.

The “Office Use Only” box on the far right is for you to document on each risk that was identified by the adolescent. If you are reviewing a risk assessment with risks identified you must have documentation that you addressed it with the adolescent. Examples of this documentation could include:

  • –  “counseled, minimal risk”
  • –  “determined not at risk”
  • –  “risk reduction plan developed ~ see notes”
  • –  “past behavior, not current risk”

The “For Office Use Only” on the bottom of the form is for you to evaluate the risk behaviors and your follow up:

  • –  No current risk ~ This will automatically populate on the RAAPS if the youth reported they were not engaging in any risk behaviors.
  • –  At risk counseled ~ This will automatically populate on the RAAPS if the youth identified any risk behaviors. It is assumed that if behaviors were identified the youth was counseled
  • –  Needs follow up ~ It was determined through your counseling that the youth needs follow up on a risk behavior. You should be able to look at the notes in the “Office Use Only” boxes on the far right to determine what behavior this is referring to. Examples of this note could be “high risk, referred to…” Or “discussed, will monitor weekly”.
  • –  Referred to ~ if you referred the youth to someone else in your office or an outside agency for follow up on a risk behavior, you would record here.

If the counselor is documenting in the RAAPS database, choose “save and close” to store the documentation. The RAAPS can be printed with and without provider documentation.

Click here to learn more about RAAPS.

Have a question you would like featured in the RAAPS FAQ blog post series? Comment on our blog below or email us.

FAQ: How Do Youth Complete the Survey?

Youth complete the survey on any type of computer with internet access. The clinic user can enter the youth’s demographic information on any computer and at any time prior to the youth taking the survey. When it is time to initiate the survey, the clinic user will log in on the computer the youth will be using, chose the youth’s registration number and click the button “start survey”. The youth’s demographic information will populate along with drop down boxes. The youth’s insurance status on the day they are completing the survey will need to be entered by the clinic user.

At that time the computer will be turned over to the youth. The youth will verify that their demographic information is correct by clicking the “verify” button. The next screen will be a confidentiality statement that the youth will click “I agree” before the survey will begin. The next 7 pages have 3 questions each that the youth will answer. If all of the questions on the page are not answered, the page will not move to the next set of questions. On the last page of questions a “finish” button will be clicked by the youth and the system will go back to the home page.

Click here to learn more about RAAPS.

Have a question you would like featured in the RAAPS FAQ blog post series? Comment on our blog below or email us.

New Year’s Resolution: Using the Features of RAAPS

It’s that time of year again (already)!  Did you know that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions?  It’s a great time of the year to focus on personal and professional goals.

If you are an online RAAPS user or are thinking of becoming one, we challenge you to consider adding a resolution or two…

Resolve to Try One New Feature:  In our super busy days sometimes it’s easiest to just use what we know.  And RAAPS can be so simple to get started with – you might not have explored all of the features available. For example, did you know health messages specific to the adolescent’s identified risk behaviors appear on the screen for the adolescent to review?  Or you can use them professionally when discussing the survey responses and print them for an individualized health education session.  So consider trying one new feature a month.  We think you’ll appreciate the few minutes it takes – and it will support your efforts to screen at-risk youth.

Resolve to Maximize Your Data: Use the reporting function of the online RAAPS and create an ad-hoc report to decipher disparities in your population – by gender, race, or insurance status.  Then use your data…to create programming to address those disparities, to file a grant proposal, or to share with your colleagues – raising awareness and generating new ideas.  View an example of the report function.

Resolve to Share Your Knowledge:  Log onto our blog, weigh in and leave a comment.  It takes a village – and ours is dedicated to improving the health and well being of at-risk youth.

What will you resolve to do in the New Year?