Massachusetts

Please be sure to read the data notes & limitations page. This explains many aspects of these comments, including how only changes over time can be discussed as statistically significant, and why the comparisons with national rates discuss data for selected subgroups.

Overview of Findings

Findings for Massachusetts were largely positive. Encouraging findings include an increase in safety belt use and decreases in overall mortality for older adolescents, riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, physical fighting, binge drinking, suicide attempts requiring medical attention, and tobacco use. Rates remained stable for motor vehicle crash mortality, weapon carrying, marijuana use, sexual experience, current sexual activity, and condom use. On the other hand, overall adolescent mortality increased among younger adolescents and young adults.

Final rates for most objectives in Massachusetts were very similar to national rates, including rates of riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, physical fighting, suicide attempts requiring medical attention, sexual experience, current sexual activity, condom use and tobacco use. Massachusetts compared favorably to the national for some objectives including overall mortality, motor vehicle crash mortality, and weapon carrying. On the other hand, Massachusetts had a lower rate of safety belt use.

Highlights of changes Findings by Objective

Jump To: Mortality; Unintentional Injury; Violence; Substance Use and Mental Health; Reproductive Health; Chronic Disease Prevention

Mortality

The rate of overall mortality in Massachusetts increased slightly from baseline among younger adolescents and young adults, with a particularly large increase among young adult Black males. Among older adolescents, mortality decreased overall with a large decrease among White males; however rates increased slightly for Blacks in that age group. In 2007, males had substantially higher mortality rates than females. Among older adolescents and young adults, Blacks had the highest rate, followed by Hispanics and then Whites, with fairly large differences among these groups.

Comparison with national data. As in Massachusetts, national mortality rates decreased among older adolescents and increased among young adults. In contrast to Massachusetts, national rates decreased among younger adolescents. In addition, a sizable decrease in mortality among young adult Black males nationally stands in contrast to an increase of equal magnitude for that group in Massachusetts. In 2007, Massachusetts mortality rates were lower than national rates, with particularly large state-national differences among Whites. The national gender and racial/ethnic patterns mostly matched the patterns in Massachusetts. One notable exception is among older adolescents; nationally, Whites and Hispanics had virtually matching rates in contrast to much higher rates for Hispanics in Massachusetts.

Unintentional Injury

(motor vehicle crashes, safety belt use, & riding with a driver who has been drinking alcohol)

Please note the data for safety belt use are presented as “not wearing safety belt,” the inverse of the objective. This text describes safety belt use.

Adolescent mortality in Massachusetts due to motor vehicle crashes was flat from baseline.  In 2007, males had about twice the rate of females.

Comparison with national data. Similar to Massachusetts, the national motor vehicle mortality rate was essentially flat from baseline. In 2007, Massachusetts rates were much lower than national rates.  The national gender pattern was similar to the pattern noted for Massachusetts.

Rates of safety belt use rates increased substantially from baseline overall and for almost all subgroups, with especially large increases among Black males and females. In 2009 females had a higher rate than males. Whites had the highest rates, followed by Blacks; Hispanics and Asians had similar rates, the lowest among racial/ethnic groups.

Comparison with national data. National rates of safety belt use also increased. In 2009, the rate in Massachusetts was lower than the national rate; Massachusetts rates for Asians and Hispanics were much lower than national rates for these groups. As in Massachusetts, females had a higher rate than males. However, racial/ethnic patterns differed somewhat. Nationally, Asians and Hispanics had the highest rates, in contrast to Massachusetts, where these groups had the lowest rates.

Reported rates of riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in Massachusetts declined from baseline overall and among White males and females; decreases for other subgroups were not statistically significant. In 2009, males and females had matching rates. Hispanics had the highest rates, followed closely by Whites; Blacks had the next highest rate, followed closely by Asians.

Comparison with national data. National rates of riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol also declined from baseline. In 2009, national and Massachusetts rates of this behavior roughly matched the overall rate and rates for subgroups; the Massachusetts rate for Blacks was somewhat lower than the national rate for this group. As in Massachusetts, males and females had matching rates nationally. The national racial/ethnic pattern was also similar to the pattern in Massachusetts, except that Blacks had a higher rate than Whites nationally, the reverse of the pattern in Massachusetts.

Violence

(homicide, physical fighting, weapon carrying)

The baseline homicide rate and all subgroup rates were based on fewer than 20 deaths and were unsuitable for analyses; thus no comparisons could be made.

Rates of physical fighting decreased moderately from baseline with declines among most subgroups. In 2009, males had a much higher rate than females. Hispanics had the highest rates of fighting, followed closely by Blacks; Whites and Asians had similar rates, the lowest among subgroups.

Comparison with national data. The national rate of physical also decreased from baseline. The national rate for Blacks was flat, in contrast to a sizable decrease among that group in Massachusetts. The final rate in Massachusetts was slightly higher than the national rate. The Massachusetts rate among Asians was much higher than the national rate for that group, while the Massachusetts rate among Blacks was much lower than the national rate for Blacks. As in Massachusetts, the national rate for males was higher than the rate for females. Nationally, Black adolescents reported the highest rates, in contrast to the pattern noted in Massachusetts.

The overall rate of weapon carrying among adolescents in Massachusetts did not change from baseline overall; however the overall rate for males decreased slightly. In 2009, males had nearly four times the rate of weapon carrying of females. Hispanics had the highest rate; they were followed by Blacks, Whites and Asians, whose rates were very similar.

Comparison with national data. As in Massachusetts, the national rate of weapon carrying remained flat; the national rate for males was also flat, in contrast to a decrease for males in Massachusetts. In 2009, the rate of weapon carrying was somewhat lower in Massachusetts than nationally. As in Massachusetts, males had a much higher rate than females nationally. The national racial/ethnic pattern was also mostly similar, except that Whites had the highest rate in nationally, in contrast to a lower rate relative to other groups in Massachusetts.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

(binge drinking, marijuana use, suicide, suicide attempts requiring medical attention)

Rates of binge drinking in Massachusetts declined from baseline overall and among Whites. In 2009, males and females had roughly matching rates. Whites had the highest rate, followed by Hispanics; Blacks and Asians had similar rates, the lowest among racial/ethnic groups.

Comparison with national data. National rates showed a very small decline, in contrast to a larger decline in Massachusetts. The national gender and racial/ethnic patterns nationally roughly matched those patterns in Massachusetts.

Rates of marijuana use in Massachusetts were flat from baseline overall and for most groups; moderate, significant decreases occurred for females overall and for White females. In 2009, males had a higher rate than females. Whites had the highest rate, followed by Hispanics and Blacks, with fairly small differences among these groups. Asians had by far the lowest rate of marijuana use.

Comparison with national data. There was a slight decrease in the national rate of marijuana use, similar to the flat rate in Massachusetts. The national gender and racial/ethnic patterns nationally roughly matched patterns in Massachusetts.

Suicide rates were based on fewer than 20 deaths, and thus were unsuitable for analyses.

The rate of adolescent suicide attempts in Massachusetts requiring medical attention decreased from baseline overall, driven by a significant decline among White females. In 2009, females and males had roughly matching rates. Hispanics had the highest rates, followed by Blacks and Whites, who had very similar rates.

Comparison with national data. The national rate of suicide attempts requiring medical attention also decreased slightly from baseline overall. Unlike Massachusetts, the rate did not decline significantly among White females. In 2009, the overall rate for this objective in Massachusetts was slightly higher than the national rate.  Nationally, females had higher rates than males, in contrast to roughly equal rates at the state level.  Nationally, Blacks had the highest rates, followed by Hispanics, then Whites, in contrast to the pattern noted in Massachusetts.

Reproductive Health

Please note, for the first two objectives, the text and tables present findings about adolescents who are sexually experienced and currently sexually active, the inverse of the actual objective. For the third objective, the table presents findings for lack of condom use, the inverse of the objective. The text describes condom use. (See Data Notes & Limitations).

The overall rate of adolescents having engaged in sexual intercourse was flat from baseline overall and for almost all subgroups; one exception is substantial increase among Hispanic females. In 2009, males had a slightly higher rate of sexual experience than females.  Hispanics had the highest rates, followed very closely by Blacks; Whites had much lower rates and Asians had by far the lowest rate.

Comparison with national data. The national rate of sexual experience was also flat overall and among most subgroups. The rate for Hispanics females was flat, in contrast to the large increase noted in Massachusetts. In 2009, the Massachusetts rate for sexual experience matched the national rate. The state rate for Blacks was much lower than the national rate for that group, while the state rate for Hispanics was much higher. Males and females had matching rates nationally, in contrast to the slightly higher rate among males in Massachusetts. Nationally, Blacks had a higher rate than Hispanics, the reverse of the pattern noted in Massachusetts.

Rates of sexually experienced adolescents in Massachusetts reporting current sexual activity were flat from baseline, overall and for almost all subgroups; one exception is an increase among Hispanic females. In 2009, females had a slightly higher rate than males. Hispanics had the highest rate, followed by Blacks, and then Whites; Asians had by far the lowest rate.

Comparison with national data. The national rate of currently sexual activity was also flat, overall and across subgroups; unlike Massachusetts the rate did not increase among Hispanic females. In 2009, the rate in Massachusetts matched the national rate. As in Massachusetts, females had a slightly higher rate than males. Nationally, Blacks had a higher rate than Hispanics, the reverse of the pattern noted in Massachusetts.

The rate of adolescent condom use in Massachusetts was flat from baseline, overall and among all groups. In 2009, males had much higher rates than females. Hispanics and Whites had similar rates.

Comparison with national data. National rates of condom use were also flat overall; national rates increased among Whites and decreased among Blacks, in contrast to flat rates for those groups in Massachusetts. In 2009, the Massachusetts rate for condom use was slightly lower than the national rate. As in Massachusetts, males had a much higher rate than females nationally. Whites had a much higher rate than Hispanics nationally, in contrast to similar rates in Massachusetts.

Chronic Disease Prevention

(tobacco use)

Tobacco use among adolescents in Massachusetts declined substantially from baseline, with a particularly large decline among White females; changes were not significant for Blacks males and all Hispanics. In 2009, males had nearly twice the rate of females, and Whites had the highest rate, followed by Hispanics, Blacks, and then Asians.

Comparison with national data. The large decline in tobacco use in Massachusetts adolescents compared with a similar decrease nationally. In 2009, the Massachusetts rate was similar to the national rate. While males also had higher rates than females nationally, this gender difference was much smaller than in Massachusetts. The national racial/ethnic pattern was similar to the pattern in Massachusetts.

Additional data may be available at: http://www.mass.gov/dph/bhsre